Young people lead global #ClimateChange protests #ClimateStrike #ActOnClimate

Photos from the Climate Strike September 20, 2019 in Denver, Colorado.

From Colorado Public Radio (Michael Elizabeth Sakas and Sam Brasch):

Students across Colorado walked out of class to help kick off an international week of climate action. Thousands of people marched down Denver’s 16th Street Mall from Union Station to rally at the state Capitol.

Amanda Opp of Lakewood High School said she is really angry about climate change.

“Our parents need to understand that this is going to be our problem,” Opp said.

Isha Kanu, a 17-year-old senior at Northfield High School, left class to show support for the Green New Deal. She says the proposal makes it so people don’t have to choose between the climate and the economy.

Sebastian Andrews, a student at the Denver School of the Arts, said he couldn’t not join the strikes.

“My biggest fear in life is that I didn’t do everything I could,” Andrews said. “I want to be on the side of history that can say, ‘I told you so and I tried.’”

The Wrights joined the strike as a family. They said they’re trying to get people to understand the issue as a “climate crisis” instead of “climate change.”

From The Denver Post (Elizabeth Hernandez and James Burke):

“It’s still this hot — and it’s September,” said 14-year-old Piper Moss, a Denver School of the Arts student who marched from Union Station to the Capitol building along with thousands. “It’s outrageous.”

Friday’s Global Climate Strike inspired dozens of youth-led movements to spring up across the state from Salida to Colorado Springs to Breckenridge. The Colorado protests joined others across the country and the globe intended to raise awareness about sustaining the future of the planet.

Abi Horton, 16, took the 16th Street Mall Ride to Union Station with a group of her Denver School of the Arts classmates. In transit, the girls wondered how much of a future they’d have left to protect if the climate crisis wasn’t taken seriously.

“People keep saying we need to preserve the Earth for our children and their children and their grandchildren, and I’m thinking,’Is the Earth going to live that long?’ ” Horton said. “I’m semi-prepared for a future that’s post-apocalyptic. I know that’s sad, but it’s true.”

Streams of people — young, old, disabled, veteran activists, new conservationists and beyond — flooded the 16th Street Mall, eventually spilling onto the lawn of the state Capitol with their protest songs and signs leading the way.

Xanthia Borg, 14, came with her Jefferson County Open School classmates and carried a sign that read “our planet is getting hotter than my imaginary boyfriend.” Seventeen-year-old Sebastian Andrews from Denver School of the Arts held a sign bearing a picture of Bill Nye the Science Guy that pleaded, “Listen to this man.” Shreya Shrestha, 17, of Colorado Springs’ Pine Creek High School carried a sign reading, “Our oceans are rising and so are we.”

Shrestha and her friends drove to Denver from Colorado Springs on Friday morning, motivated to be among like-minded people and make their voices heard. Shrestha said her peers just started an environmental club at their school and plan on being louder about global warming.

“If we don’t do anything, my future won’t exist,” Shrestha said. “It’s heartbreaking and enraging.”

[…]

Minogue-Rau was among a group of middle schoolers at Denver School of the Arts who held a protest on the edge of their school grounds because they weren’t allowed to leave their campus.

“I want to die of old age,” Minogue-Rau said. “Not because of climate change.”

Inside the school, 17-year-old Amelia Gorman oversaw a letter writing campaign to local lawmakers. “We’re just a small voice of thousands,” she said. “And I think it’s unfair that those in power aren’t listening.”

[…]

Back at the Capitol, young people filled the steps leading into the building where laws are made, calling for those in power to hear them out and heed their warnings.

Hailey Hayes, a 17-year-old from South High School, said the mass turnout and unity gave her chills.

“It’s incredible,” Hayes said, looking at the crowd. “This shows that people aren’t willing to stand idly by and watch the planet burn.”

From The Associated Press (Rod McGuirk/Frank Jordans):

In Canberra and Kabul, Cape Town and Berlin, and across the globe, hundreds of thousands of people took the streets Friday to demand that leaders tackle climate change in the run-up to a U.N. summit.

Many were children who skipped school to take part in the second “Global Climate Strike,” following a similar event in March that drew large crowds.

Events kicked off in Australia, where protesters marched in 110 towns and cities, including Sydney and the national capital, Canberra. Demonstrators called for their country, the world’s largest exporter of coal and liquid natural gas, to take more drastic action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“Even though we ourselves aren’t sick, the planet which we live on is, and we are protesting and fighting for it,” said Siobhan Sutton, a 15-year-old student at Perth Modern School.

Organizers estimate more than 300,000 protesters took to Australian streets in what would be the country’s biggest demonstration since the Iraq War in 2003.

The protests are partly inspired by the activism of Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, who has staged weekly demonstrations under the heading “Fridays for Future” over the past year, calling on world leaders to step up their efforts against climate change. Thunberg is expected to speak at the U.N. Climate Action Summit on Monday.

Hundreds of rallies took place across Europe, including in the Czech Republic, Germany, Britain and Poland, which is still widely coal-reliant and where many middle schools gave students the day off to enable them to participate in the rallies in Warsaw and other cities.

In Berlin, organizers said 80,000 people gathered in front of the capital’s landmark Brandenburg Gate, not far from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s office where the Cabinet was thrashing out the final details of a plan to curb Germany’s greenhouse gas emissions .

In Helsinki, the Finnish capital, a man dressed as Santa Claus stood outside parliament holding a sign: “My house is on fire, my reindeer can’t swim.”

Smaller protests took place in Asia, including in Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Hong Kong and India.

“We need to reclaim our constitutional right to clean air and water,” said Aman Sharma, a 16-year-old protester in India’s capital New Delhi.

In Tokyo, hundreds of students and environmental activists marched through the business and shopping district of Shibuya, chanting “Climate Justice!” while holding hand-painted placards made of cardboard with messages such as “Go Green,” ”Save the Earth,” and “the Earth is on fire.”

Smaller rallies were held in more than a dozen cities around Japan, including Kyoto, the nation’s ancient capital that hosted the 1997 climate conference.

In a quiet protest in Seoul, about two dozen environmental activists flashed messages in Morse code on LED flashlights, calling for action to rescue the earth.

In the Afghan capital, Kabul, an armored personnel carrier was deployed to protect about 100 young people as they marched, led by a group of several young women carrying a banner emblazoned with “Fridays for Future.”

Fardeen Barakzai, one of the organizers and head of the local climate activist group, Oxygen, said “we want to do our part. We as the youth of our country know the problem of climate change. We know war can kill a group of people. … The problem in Afghanistan is our leaders are fighting for power but the real power is in nature.”

Rallies were also held in Johannesburg and the South African capital, Pretoria, as well as Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, where some young protesters wore hats and outfits made from plastic bottles to emphasize the dangers of plastic waste, a major threat to both cities and oceans.

Climate change “is worse than homework,” one sign proclaimed.

Experts say Africa is the most vulnerable continent to climate change and the least equipped to deal with it. Governments have pleaded for more support from the international community.

Further rallies were planned later Friday in the United States, where organizers say more than 800 events are expected.

Secretary Bernhardt Announces Over $100 Million in Public-Private Funding for Wetland Conservation Projects — @USFWS

Greater Sandhill Cranes in flight over the San Luis Valley. The annual Monte Vista Crane Festival takes place during March each year. Photo credit: Colorado Parks and Wildlife

Here’s the release from the US Fish and Wildlife Service (Vanessa Kauffman):

The Migratory Bird Conservation Commission, chaired by U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt, approved $28 million in funding for various wetland conservation projects.

Marking its 30th anniversary since enactment, the 2019 North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) grants will be used to ensure waterfowl and other birds are protected throughout their life cycles. Of the funds issued, $23.9 million was allocated for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and its partners to conserve or restore more than 150,000 acres of wetland and associated upland habitats for waterfowl, shorebirds and other birds in 20 states throughout the United States. These grants will be matched by more than $72 million in partner funds.

“These public-private grants help uphold President Trump’s important promise to America’s sportsmen and women to preserve our nation’s wildlife and provide access to our public lands for future generations,” said Secretary Bernhardt. “Landmark legislation like the North American Wetlands Conservation Act has made that possible for all Americans and these treasured natural resources during the past 30 years.”

Wetlands provide many ecological, economic and social benefits such as habitat for fish, wildlife and a variety of plants. NAWCA grants conserve bird populations and wetland habitat while supporting local economies and American traditions such as hunting, fishing, birdwatching, family farming and cattle ranching. This year’s projects include:

  • Missouri River Valley Wetlands – $1 million to acquire, restore and enhance 4,618 acres within major wetland and grassland complexes within the Missouri River Alluvial Plain in western Iowa and northwest Missouri, benefitting northern pintail, lesser scaup and many other species.
  • Upper Snake River – $1 million to protect and enhance 1,691 acres of migrating, breeding and wintering habitat in eastern Idaho. Species that will benefit include trumpeter swan, northern pintail and mallard.
  • Texas Bays, Wetlands and Prairies II – $1 million to enhance 2,885 acres of wetland types and other critical wetland habitats in mid-coast Texas. The project will benefit mottled ducks, black-bellied whistling ducks, fulvous whistling ducks and other species.
  • The commission also received a report on 31 NAWCA small grants, which were approved by the North American Wetlands Conservation Council in March. Small grants are awarded for smaller projects up to $100,000 to encourage new grantees and partners to carry out smaller-scale conservation work. The commission has authorized the council to approve these projects up to a $5 million. This year, $3 million in grants was matched by $11.1 million in partner funds.

    NAWCA is the only federal grant program dedicated to the conservation of wetland habitats for migratory birds. Since 1989, funding has advanced the conservation of wetland habitats and their wildlife in all 50 U.S. states, Canada and Mexico while engaging more than 6,200 partners in nearly 3,000 projects. More information about the grant projects is available here.

    The commission also approved $4.2 million from the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund to conserve 2,200 acres in Klamath Marsh National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon. These funds were raised largely through the sale of Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamps, commonly known as “Duck Stamps.”

    “Buying Duck Stamps is one of the many ways hunters contribute to conservation.” said Bernhardt. “Expanding waterfowl habitat and hunter access through this Duck Stamp-funded acquisition is a great way to kick off hunting season.”

    “NAWCA is a cornerstone funding program for DU’s conservation work across the continent,” said Ducks Unlimited CEO Adam Putnam. “Secretary Bernhardt’s announcement of the $28 million in approved funding for the program will ensure DU and our partners are able to continue habitat improvement projects across North America. These funds will be matched dollar for dollar and are often doubled, tripled or more in conjunction with project-specific partners. This allows organizations like DU and our partners to provide critical habitat for waterfowl, shorebirds and other wildlife. We appreciate the Secretary’s foresight and his commitment to conservation.”

    “CSF applauds the Department of the Interior for the issuance of $28 million in funding for grants that are made available through the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, said President of Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation Jeff Crane. “Since inception, this highly successful program has completed more than 2,800 projects spanning across nearly 30 million acres in all 50 states, Canada and Mexico. NAWCA requires that for every federal dollar contributed to the program, a non-federal source must equally match the federal contribution. Sportsmen and women are often part of this non-federal match, making this a partnership that benefits habitat conservation and our great outdoors traditions.”

    “The habitat restoration work on the Klamath Marsh Refuge is particularly important for migrating waterfowl given the water shortage and long-term decline of wetlands in the nearby Klamath Basin,” stated Mark Hennelly, Vice President of Legislative Affairs for the California Waterfowl Association. “Our Association appreciates the commission and the Department of Interior’s ongoing efforts to address waterfowl habitat needs in southern Oregon and northeastern California.”

    Funds raised from the sale of Federal Duck Stamps go toward the acquisition or lease of habitat for the National Wildlife Refuge System. Duck Stamps – while required for waterfowl hunters as an annual license – are also voluntarily purchased by birders, outdoor enthusiasts and fans of national wildlife refuges who understand the value of preserving some of the most diverse and important wildlife habitats in our nation.

    The Klamath Marsh National Wildlife Refuge project will restore and conserve more than 2,200 acres on the upper Williamson River for migratory birds, including several species of waterfowl, such as northern pintail, mallard, American wigeon, Canada geese, white-fronted geese and snow geese. The restoration will improve the area for native fish species, especially redband and rainbow trout, providing for world-class fishing as well as expanding public use opportunities for wildlife observation and photography.

    Since 1934, the Federal Duck Stamp Program and Migratory Bird Conservation Fund have provided more than $1 billion for habitat conservation in the Refuge System.

    The National Wildlife Refuge System, managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is an unparalleled network of 567 national wildlife refuges and 38 wetland management districts. There is a national wildlife refuge within an hour’s drive of most major metropolitan areas. Refuges offer world-class public recreation, from fishing, hunting and wildlife observation to photography and environmental education. More than 55 million people visit refuges every year, creating economic booms for local communities.

    The Migratory Bird Conservation Commission is chaired by the Secretary of the Interior. Its members include Sen. Martin Heinrich of New Mexico; Sen. John Boozman of Arkansas; Reps. Robert J. Wittman of Virginia and Mike Thompson of California; Sonny Perdue, Secretary of Agriculture; and EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. The commission has helped in conserving much of this nation’s most important waterfowl habitat and in establishing or enhancing many of the country’s most popular destinations for waterfowl hunting.

    Additional information about North American wetlands and waterfowl conservation can be found at https://www.fws.gov/birds/, which offers waterfowl enthusiasts, biologists and agency managers with the most up-to-date waterfowl habitat and population information.

    Click here to view the list of approved projects. Included is a project in the San Luis Valley:

    Project Description​ The project will focus on the protection, restoration and enhancement of two major habitat types. First, it will largely use conservation easements to protect seasonally flooded wet meadows, which provide important wildlife habitat as well as hay for local ranching operations. This project will permanently protect 2,800 acres of these wet meadow habitats. Second, it will restore and enhance streams, riparian areas, and wetlands mostly on public lands with a focus on returning historic flood regimes to playa wetlands. This project restores and enhances over 2,400 acres of mostly playa wetlands. As a secondary goal, project activities will protect, restore and enhance well-developed cottonwood and willow riparian areas, which are important to wildlife but extremely rare in the upper San Luis Valley.

    From The Center Square (Derek Draplin) via The Kiowa County Press:

    Two wetland conservation projects in Colorado were among several nationally to be awarded federal grants this week, according to the U.S. Department of Interior.

    The grants for Colorado projects are part of $28 million in funding for wetland conservation approved by the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission, which is chaired by Interior Secretary David Bernhardt.

    The grants are awarded through the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) and will affect 150,000 acres of wetland and upland waterfowl habitats on 20 states across the country, the department said this week.

    Additionally, the $28 million in federal grants will be matched by $72 million in funding from partner organizations.

    In Colorado, the North Park Wetland Conservation Partnership and the Arkansas River Wetlands Conservation Partnership each received a $1 million grant. Both projects have proposed match amounts of $2 million.

    The grants for both projects were awarded to Ducks Unlimited, a national waterfowl conservation organization.

    In the Arkansas River project, Ducks Unlimited and partner organizations will “conserve over 17,000 acres of wetlands and adjacent prairie in the Arkansas River Valley of Colorado through restoration activities and conservation easements,” a project description says.

    Colorado Parks and Wildlife, The Conservation Fund and The Nature Conservancy are among the partners with Ducks Unlimited.

    The North Park will “conserve 6,510 acres of high-quality wildlife habitat,” in conjunction with Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust, among other groups.

    Mike George, Ducks Unlimited’s director of conservation programs for Colorado, said the projects will also benefit clean water and recharge aquifers in the state.