The county resolution to "declare a climate emergency" and announce support of youth action passed with a unanimous vote from commissioners on Tuesday evening after emotional comments by students from the New Mexico School for the Arts and organizing members of Youth United For Climate Change Action (YUCCA).
YUCCA is the group organizing Santa Fe's youth climate strike scheduled for Friday, September 20, in coordination with strikes in capitals across the country.
"We are issuing a cry for help from the institutions of our society… and I am begging you to please answer," said Artemisio Romero y Carver, describing the terror he and a generation of young people experience at the prospect of having only a decade to turn climate change around before it is too late.
Commissioners voted unanimously to pass the resolution.
Santa Fe City Council then passed a similar resolution Wednesday, though not without debate and disagreement between councilors and two opposing votes from Councilors Mike Harris and JoAnne Vigil Coppler in opposition to amendments proposed by Mayor Alan Webber and Councilor Renee Villarreal to add language supporting a planned youth climate strike followed by a "week of disruption."
Whereas the county's resolution explicitly stated support for the youth climate strike and declared a climate emergency, the city's resolution "supporting the efforts of global citizens to pressure world leaders to address the effects of climate change" initially did not include explicit support of a student walkout, focusing instead on a comparison between the city's 25 year sustainability plan and the Green New Deal.
Villarreal agreed to remove language about disruption, but noted that's still the point: "This is part of the global strike — to disrupt the system."
She addresses the issue with SFR the day following the City Council meeting when SFR arrives at NMSA to discuss an upcoming youth art exhibit about climate change titled In Crisis, to which Yang has contributed a piece. The exhibition is organized by Romero y Carver, the other young person who spoke at the commission meeting, and is one of many events that will take place in the week following the strike.
Disruption is something Yang has thought about in depth in the weeks leading up to the planned strike.
The youth exhibit, In Crisis, will feature art from youth across the state on the topic of climate injustice. The show will offer artists 100% of any profits from work sold and a $500 prize for best in show. The exhibit will continue to accept submissions until Monday, Sept. 16.
In coordination with strikes planned at capitals across the country, Santa Fe’s youth climate strike is set for on Friday, Sept. 20, from from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm at the Roundhouse.