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Energy Environment

“Our House is on Fire”

And the kids are pissed. Not just at fossil fuel CEOs and politicians, but at most adults (that would be you and me) who they hold in contempt for the world we are leaving them.

It was as close to a late 60s, early 70s rally as I’ve seen — young people angry at the adult world. This time, it wasn’t about a war in Southeast Asia but about a climate crisis they are inheriting from older generations.

The first of three climate strike events on Friday in Missoula was held at Caras Park. There were around 1000 gathered, mostly high school and UM students, but other activists, too. The young, articulate speakers were holding us old folks accountable and challenging all of us gathered to take action.

The “Our House is on Fire” quote comes from Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swede who inspired climate strikes around the world. The line was oft repeated throughout the day.

The next venue was NorthWestern Energy’s offices on Russell Street. About 250 folks were there to ask “Why?” in a chant, was the company stifling sustainable energy options. (Many of us grey hairs were in attendance, I’m pleased to report, so not all the “adults” referenced at the first event are irresponsible.)

The day ended back at the Missoula County Courthouse with families demonstrating for a clean, green future. A few hundred had gathered by my estimation. It rounded out the day: starting with high schoolers and millennials, moving on to boomers, and then to families (including toddlers, grade-and-middle schoolers, parents and grandparents).

I was there to soak up the energy and wasn’t taking notes. So I hope the photos below, particularly of the signs, better convey the day. (You can click on the images for more detail.) Any additional climate strike updates from other Montana communities would be greatly appreciated.

The young speakers say they want action, not just platitudes from us, the adults who created this crisis. As young Ms. Thunberg would say, “I don’t want your hope. I want you to panic … and act.” But the young ones who organized the morning rally gave me some hope — it’s a start, keep agitating — and keep demanding action. To quote The Who, the kids are alright.

Caras Park
Caras Park

 

 

 

 

 

Caras Park
Caras Park

 

 

 

 

 

Caras Park
NorthWestern Energy
NorthWestern Energy

 

NorthWestern Energy

 

 

 

 

 

Missoula County Courthouse
Missoula County Courthouse

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Missoula County Courthouse

 

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About the author

Pete Talbot

'Papa’ Pete Talbot is first and foremost a grandfather to five wonderful grandchildren. Like many Montanans, he has held numerous jobs over the years: film and video producer, a partner in a marketing and advertising firm, a builder and a property manager. He’s served on local and statewide Democratic Party boards. Pete has also been blogging at various sites for over a decade. Ping-pong and skiing are his favorite diversions. He enjoys bourbon.

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