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Environment

Activists Hang Banner Calling for Climate Action on River Street Sign

Saturday marks five-year anniversary of climate treaty, which U.S. could return to

Climate activists hung a sign calling for climate action early on Friday, Dec. 11, 2020. PHOTO: TARMO HANNULA

Tamarah Minami, a young climate activist, and her fellow organizers had been brainstorming ways to take action on climate change, amid a global pandemic that changed the calculus on mass gatherings.

They decided to wake up early Friday morning and hang a banner over the River Street Sign, just off Highway 1. The River Street sign serves as a marquee gateway to the city of Santa Cruz. The sign reads, “OUR PLANET IS ON FIRE CLIMATE ACTION NOW.”

Minami, who was involved with the banner hanging, says the basic concept came from the group Fridays for Future, which has been pushing for activists to take action in a safe and responsible way.

“They wanted people to show that they were still fighting,” she says.

Minami says this year’s fires—which did severe damage to California, including destroying more than 900 Santa Cruz County homes—serve as a reminder of the need for citizens of the world to cut down on their carbon emissions. 

“That was a really big wakeup call to see how it’s already really bad, and how it’s going to continue, because the fires will keep getting worse and worse as climate change gets worse,” says Minami, who adds that Santa Cruzans should keep their eyes peeled Friday for other banners around town, including ones going up on downtown parking garages and balconies. She says anyone who wants to learn more can do so by following youth4climatejusticeca on Instagram.

Scientists say people everywhere need to take dramatic action on greenhouse gases in order to prevent average global temperatures from rising 2 degrees Celsius. 

Saturday, Dec. 12, will mark the five-year anniversary of the adoption of the international Paris Agreement, a pact to reduce emissions with the aim of holding temperature rise below that threshold. 

President Donald Trump announced in August 2017 that the United States would be withdrawing from the accord—a change that took more than three years to complete. President-elect Joe Biden says the country will rejoin the international agreement during his term.

It’s a change that Minami says will be absolutely imperative in part because of the message it sends to other nations.

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