On September 20, 2019, millions of people around the world took to the streets to demand climate action, kicking off the first ever Global Climate Strike. It became the largest climate mobilization in history, uniting people from more than 170 countries. In an unprecedented era of climate crisis, young people have become our most vocal leaders, knowing that the consequences of our inaction will fall squarely on their shoulders. Their leadership on the frontlines of the Global Climate Strike gave me goosebumps. They know already what took me many years of learning, and unlearning.

Although climate change is a global phenomenon, its impacts map onto social, economic, and environmental injustices, creating a disproportionate burden for low-income communities and communities of color. Renewable energy access in these communities is critical to not only reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but also reducing systemic inequities that go beyond the grid. This truth is why GRID exists. While moving through the streets of downtown San Francisco, I saw this truth reflected in countless signs and banners.

I believe that our best work is still ahead of us, but as I moved through the streets of downtown San Francisco, I couldn’t help but feel thankful for where we are and where we’re headed. I am thankful for those who worked through the day to make what we march for a reality. I am thankful for those who painted signs and showed up, whether for a march of one or one million. Above all, I am thankful for those who continue to march to whatever drum beats for truth and justice.

Words and photos by Marissa Leshnov/GRID Alternatives.

Originally published on November 15, 2019.


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