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Deschutes Youth Climate Congress plans first in-person ‘strike’ in over a year

Freddy Finney-Jordet expects 100 participants at Friday's Bend event

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- When young climate activists take over "Peace Corner" in downtown Bend at 3 p.m. Friday, it will be the first in-person "climate strike" in Central Oregon in more than a year.

Freddy Finney-Jordet with the Deschutes Youth Climate Congress is expecting about 100 people to take part, a number considerably lower than the 900 the group had in September 2019, which Finney-Jordet attributes to the pandemic.

While Finney-Jordet would like as many people there as possible, he'll be happy with any outcome.

“Any number of people is good, and any amount of time is good," Finney-Jordet told NewsChannel 21 on Thursday. "If you walked out there for a minute and held up a sign and participated in some chants and walked away, then you have made the Earth at least one minute of participation better.”

Finney-Jordet said people attending Friday's strike will need to be wearing face masks and practicing social distancing.

There's not a set date for the next in-person strike, but Finney-Jordet and the Deschutes Youth Climate Congress are planning to have another one.

Below is the news release from the Deschutes Youth Climate Congress:

On March 19th, the Youth Climate Congress, a coalition of local youth climate activists, along with cosponsoring organizations Oregon League of Conservation Voters, Indivisible Bend, Vocal Seniority, 350Deschutes, Sierra Club Juniper Group, and Let’s Act Bend, are joining worldwide demonstrations to demand government action in addressing climate change.

This comes two years after the first global climate strike and the beginning of the School Strike for Climate movement started by Greta Thunberg and FridaysForFuture. The Global Climate Strike in Central Oregon will take place at 3:00pm at the corner of Newport Avenue and Wall Street, or, Peace Corner, in downtown Bend.

It will be the first in-person climate strike since the beginning of the pandemic and since the Digital Climate Strike last April. The protest will adhere to COVID-19 health restrictions, and masks and social distancing are required for attendees. Given that some may be unwilling or unable to attend given the pandemic, there are also digital options to #StrikeFromHome by positing a picture of yourself
protesting from your home, as with the Digital Climate Strike last April.

The Youth Climate Congress worked closely with Oregon League of Conservation Voters for this event, and the Global Climate Strike in Central Oregon is in strong support of the Clean Energy Opportunity Campaign in Oregon to pass legislation for a more sustainable future for Oregon. The protest will demand the following climate change mitigation strategies for Central Oregon and the state as a whole:

● Pass mandatory measures to ensure the environmental friendliness of buildings and institutions, like an energy audit.

● Bring an end to our representatives in the state House and Senate not participating insessions in order to bypass our democracy.

○ Pass measures to hold legislators accountable for not attending legislature
sessions, like SB 261, SB 262, SJR 3, and SJR 4.

● Pass the 100% Clean Energy For All bill (HB 2021) to ensure a clean future for Oregon as soon as possible, and by 2040.

● Pass the Energy Affordability Act (HB 2475) and the Healthy Homes bill (HB 2842) to reduce energy cost and usage in homes across Oregon.

● Pass subsidies for zero-emission energy sources to encourage the usage of energy without a carbon footprint. The protest will also demand the following climate change mitigation strategies for the United States, in coordination with movements across the country:

● Begin replacing all expiring power plants with renewable or clean energy sources.

● Declare Climate Change a national emergency.

● Eliminate subsidies for fossil fuel

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Jordan Williams

Jordan Williams is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Jordan here.

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