Sunrise Movement activists need to be heard

Sunrise Movement activists need to be heard

In response to the column by Tom Ward on Nov. 21, I respect and admire the young activists of the R.I. Sunrise Movement who publicly shouted down Gov. Gina Raimondo while she spoke at a recent forum in Providence.

The Sunrise Movement is a nationwide political activism group comprised of young people seeking the passage of Green New Deal legislation that would promote the goals of changing our energy use by more rapidly transitioning away from fossil fuels like gas, oil and coal toward renewable energy such as wind and solar, improving energy efficiency and increasing conservation while growing our economy and creating sustainable jobs. Sunrise members have quietly worked in the Statehouse urging the governor and lawmakers to get climate legislation passed with little success.

Though our “progressive” governor recognizes the threat of climate change, she has accepted political donations from the fossil fuel industry and hasn’t committed to ending the state’s fossil fuel use on a timeline that would help slow global warming. Sunrise members’ urgency is motivated by their alarm at the prospect of their future being destroyed by the worsening effects of climate change. As unpleasant as peaceful acts of civil disobedience such as shouting at the governor are, they are effective in drawing media attention and creating public awareness.

This “global pinprick called Rhode Island,” already a national leader in offshore wind power, could lead the nation in changing to a green economy. If America acts now, it could lead the “global polluter” China and the rest of the world in the renewable energy revolution that has begun.

The thoughtful, passionate young activists of the Sunrise Movement who I know foresee the world’s population being threatened by climate change unless we act rapidly. I respect them for fighting to protect their future as well as that of my children and yours. Anyone who supports this cause is invited on Friday, Dec. 6, at 1 p.m., to the next Climate Strike, in which I will proudly march behind the young people of the Sunrise Movement through the streets of Providence to the Statehouse to make our voices heard.

Will Nakshian