On Friday, September 20, an estimated 400 to 500 people in San Miguel de Allende joined millions of people around the globe to demand “an end to the age of fossil fuels.” The global climate strikes in more than 150 countries, were scheduled ahead of the opening of the United Nations General Assembly and the U.N. Climate Action Summit beginning on Monday, September 23.
The protests were called by young people around the world who are part of the “Fridays for Future” campaign, which has seen students walk out of their schools on Fridays to demand their political leaders take urgent action to address climate change.
In the Climate Action for San Miguel de Allende, protestors marched from Calle Cardo to the rally site in Parque Juarez. Children from Fridays for the Future SMA opened the rally with the international Climate Song.
“Congratulations Team. Today’s Climate Action for the Future march and rally came off beautifully. That was possible because over the last seven weeks we all pitched in, each contributing what each could. The spirit of cooperation was inspiring. It has been a pleasure to work together. “ – Message from Cliff DuRand
Our “Climate Action for San Miguel de Allende (otherwise known as “Climate Action for the Future”) began with a meeting on August 5, 2019, organized by Cliff DuRand. Because we are in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, the participants were both English and Spanish speakers, representing collectively 12 NGOs from throughout the city: Center for Global Justice, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, El Charco del Ingenio, Via Organica, Ser Mujer, Education Collaborative, Occupy Wall Street, Tiangius Organico SMA, Libros para Todos, Caminos de Agua, Democrats Abroad SMA, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church Green Team. We got our confirmation that our group was recognized by 350.Org several days later, and at the time we were one of three groups in Mexico. By the time the Rally took place on September 20, there were eight locations Mexican listed (not including ours, for some reason; they’d taken ours down!) But that didn’t matter, because we’d increased our participation from the initial 14 people to somewhere between 400 and 500. This wasn’t nearly as much as the 100,000 in Melbourne or 250,000 in New York City, but San Miguel is a small place. We were definitely part of the 4 million worldwide who participated.
The call to action appeared in Atencion, the local bi-lingual newspaper, as follows:
San Miguel will join the Global Climate Strike with a rally Climate Action for the Future at 12:00 noon in Parque Juarez. Since Greta Thunberg began her Friday strikes in front of the Swedish parliament calling for action against climate change, she has been joined by millions of young people around the world. They call on us to be the adults who rise to the challenge of climate change that threatens their future and ours. On this day, join your voice with the millions around the world as they urge us, Our house is on fire — let’s act like it.
A letter from the Young People to us adults:
To date, young people have led the climate strikes around the world. Now we need adults to join us too. On September 20, 2019, Fridays for Future, the Youth Climate Strike movements, and all of our international friends and allies call for a global general strike. Mark and add it to your calendar. Workers everywhere, please: we are asking you to join us and walk away from a system that is destroying our planet and will threaten the survival of millions of people, plants, and animals within the next 10, 20, 30 years.
We don’t feel like we have a choice: it’s been years of talking, countless negotiations, empty deals on climate change and fossil fuel companies being given free rides to drill beneath our soils and burn away our futures for their profit. Politicians and fossil fuel companies have known about climate change for decades. They have willingly handed over their responsibility for our future to profiteers whose search for quick cash threatens our very existence. This crisis is very real, and it cannot be ignored any longer.
We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.
Once again our voices are being heard on the streets, but it is not just up to us. We feel a lot of adults haven’t quite understood that we young people won’t hold off the climate crisis ourselves. Sorry if this is inconvenient for you. But this is not a single-generation job. It’s humanity’s job. We young people can contribute to a larger fight and that can make a huge difference. We can’t do this with you and everyone you know.
Step up and out of your comfort zone for our climate. Let’s all join together, with your neighbors, co-workers, friends, family and go out on to the streets to make your voices heard and make this a turning point in our history.
During the French revolution, mothers flooded the streets for their children. Today we children are fighting for ourselves, but so many of our parents are busy discussing whether our grades are good, or a new diet or what happened in the Game of Thrones finale – while the planet burns.
Emissions must drop rapidly – so that by the time we are in our mid- and late-20s we are living in a completely transformed world.
But to change everything, we need everyone. It is time for all of us to unleash mass resistance – we have shown that collective action does work. We need to escalate the pressure to make sure that change happens, and we must escalate together.
If we care, we must do more than say we do. We must act. This won’t be the last day we need to take to the streets, but it will be a new beginning.
We’re counting on you.
The day after the March I managed to contact 350.Org, which organized the marches worldwide. I sent them photos from our march. I’m sure that they’ve been inundated with pictures; I’ve been glued to the computer and looking at pictures from around the world.
The rally, organized by a large number of NGOs in San Miguel, featured a series of artistic presentations with skits, musical groups poetry and songs interspersed with informative talks on the Climate Crisis including such topics as Water, Ecotourism, Mining, Migration, the Independence watershed, Biodiversity. Bee-keeping, Food & Regenerative Agriculture, the Bye Bye Plastic Bags program and the municipality’s Zero Waste campaign.
|11:00||MARCHA- SALIDA CARDO||Jalil/ Leila||Viernes por el Futuro|
|12:0012:05||Bienvenida & Introducción Canción Niños Viernes por el Futuro||Diana Hoogesteger Jalil/Leila||Vía Orgánica A.C.Viernes por el Futuro|
|12:08||Mensaje Niños||Niños||Viernes por el Futuro|
|12:20||Agua Vida- Explicando el trabajo de la coalición de 14 ONG´s con Gobierno Municipal sobre la situación del AGUA en SMA||Jesús Gutiérrez ||AGUA VIDA Coalición|
|12:30||Turismo y Comunidades/ Ecoturismo en San Miguel||Estudiante||UTSMA|
|12:35||Transporte y vialidad||Carlos Bautista Rodriguez||Arquitecto Sanmiguelense HR Proyectos Sustentables|
|12:50||Musica –||Liah Alonso||Artista independiente|
|1 pm||–AGUA||Paco Guajardo||Caminos de Agua A.C.|
|1:20||La Cuenca /abastecimiento de agua||Rocío Gonzales||Guardianes de la Cuenca|
|1: 30||Múscia||Somebody else´s trouble|
|1:40||Minería – amenaza en Dolores Hidalgo y nuestra Agua||Chela||CODECIN|
|1:50||Migrantes y Migración||Ignacio Rodriguez||ABBA HOUSE|
|2 pm||Múscia gitana||Tziganko|
|2:15||Biodiversidad||Mensaje de Cesar Arias||Charco del Ingenio A.C|
|2:25||Abejas y la importancia de la apicultura||Chava o Ireti,||Apicultores Ambientalistas y Educadores/ Dolores Hidalgo|
|2:35||Los grupos Indígenas cuidan de la vida en la Tierra||Lau Quirot||Redes de Rebeldía y Resistencia|
|2:40||Regeneración de Suelos para Secuestrar Carbono de la Atmósfera, restaurar los ciclos del agua y producir comida sana y abundante||Azucena Cabrera , Rosana Álvarez||Via Organica A.C.|
|2:50||Consumo Animal – ESPECISMO||Liliana||Amor Animal MX|
|2:55||Producción de Alimentos e impacto ambiental||Michael Dorfman|
|3pm||Obra: “Y tu sabes lo que comes?”||Diana Hoogesteger y Gina Acosta||Teatro Vía Orgánica|
|3:10||Grupo Jarocho||Jose Luis Mendoza|
|3:20||Producción de Energía||Mensaje de Atahualpa con Roberto Robles||GAIAEducación Colaborativa|
|3:30||Cero Basura||Francisco Peyret||Director Ecología y Medio Ambiente SMA|
|3:40||Monólogo ReciclajeTeatro||Nuria – Monica Hoth|
|4pm||Adiós Plástico||Azul Quintero||Bye Bye Plastic Bags|
|4:10||Conmemorando a los 43 de Ayotzinapa||Miguel López|
|4:15||Canción Viernes por el Futuro|
|CIERRE y AGRADECIMIENTOS|
They even included a very stirring memorial to the 43 missing Ayotzinpa students, as this was the 5th anniversary of their disappearance.
Most of my own time in organizing our group was spent in setting up an email, a Facebook page, event pages in English and Spanish, and establishing a Facebook group. I was also responsible for putting together a logo and an advertisements for our Strike on September 20. We had to get together equipment for the meeting at the Parque Juarez, invite all those who would participate in the program, try to get students and teachers involved in the movement, communicate with the local press and radio station, and so on.
While the Rally and March were really important, we all consider the most important question as, “Where do we go from here?” We hope that the 4 million participants in the world-wide movement will find a way to keep together and move the world towards ways to fight climate change, for the benefit of all.