by Simone Johnson
Movements Are Started & Led by the Youth
Youth are crucial to any movement and every revolution. From the sit-ins and marches of the Civil Rights era, the Battle at Wounded Knee to the rise of the Black Panther Party and the Standing Rock Uprising of 2016. Youth have always stood at the frontlines, challenging the status-quo. More often than not, it is the youth who are willing to sacrifice our personal well-being to resist moves from the greater establishment that do not serve their interests.
The youth have lit a fire and it is only beginning to spread. Voices so strong that the minute we open to speak, the wind must move for the sounds to escape. The youth are here to constantly remind the world to push for better. To never settle for, “this is how it’s always been,” or “that’s just how it is.” If you’re one to be complacent, we will move you out of our way. We have a job to do. As the buds of our blooms begin to flourish no one can stop us from standing at the frontlines to defend what’s rightfully ours. Even more so, what rightfully belongs to our children, and our children’s children.
The greatest threat to young people’s well-being and to sustaining a balanced future for the next seven generations is climate change. If we continue to lay a blind eye to our personal impact on climate change (even more so, the systematic impacts on climate change,) our children will experience a very different quality of life from us: severe weather conditions costing billions of dollars per year, higher death rates, higher wildlife extinction rates, more acidic oceans and rising sea levels. Much of this we are already beginning to see, with people in areas like Puerto Rico and Houston, TX experiencing unlivable conditions due to the effects of climate change. All of this affects Mother Earth’s ability to sustain those who call her home, and who get to appreciate those miracles of life that she so openly allows us the privilege of experiencing.
Youth from all walks of life, from every corner of the earth have a part to play in resisting the harmful policies and business endeavours that contribute to climate change. There is a need for every one of us to work to build a close and deep-felt relationship with the earth. To understand that she is a living breathing being, just as we all are. When we harm the earth, we harm ourselves. We are all connected.
Earth Day Action for a Frack-Free Colorado
The International Indigenous Youth Council (IIYC) Denver Chapter is uniting with Earth Guardians and Hold Our Ground to protest the fracking of 192 wells on mega-pads across 11,680 acres of Open Space in Boulder County. We will gather on Earth Day, Sunday, April 22nd in Lafayette near one of the locations targeted for massive industrial drilling.
Crestone Peak is working to frack these wells between Longmont and Lafayette, which will affect the quality of life for residents living and going to school near the open space. The threatened land has been set aside by Boulder County taxpayers who have invested $100 million since 1993 to keep this land protected as Open Space. The land is not only home to humans, but to wildlife including Bald Eagle nesting sites.
The goal of our action is to show massive solidarity against fracking in order to protect frontline communities and natural resources, as well as our fundamental rights to public health & safety and a livable climate.
Young & Indigenous Voices at the Forefront of the Climate Change Discussion
We know the only way to achieve our goal is to provide a platform for youth to speak out against the effects climate change will have on their health and the environment. Youth have a new perspective and new way of looking at the world that if ignored, severely damages our ability to innovate and come up with meaningful solutions to the challenges we face.
In addition to uniting youth against a frack-free Colorado, we know the only way to walk in true solidarity is to ensure that the original caretakers of this land are at the forefront of the conversation. In honoring those who came before us, we honor the past, present and future. We are calling on Indigenous youth, leaders and elders to walk with us in solidarity and to guide us peacefully and prayerfully throughout the entire action. We ask that the Indigenous womxn stand at the frontlines and to carry the Mni Winconi, the Water of Life. It is no mistake that we spend 9 months of our life submerged in water. Being that climate change has huge implications for our water, we ask that the womxn continue to reminds us of our relationship to it.
Powerful actions such as these are only possible with the continued support of partner organizations, community activists and young people! We appreciate any time or resources you are able to contribute to protect frontline communities from fracking. You can find a detailed list of how to get involved with the Earth Day action below.
Help show your support against fracking at the LIFE > fracking action:
Sign up or connect us to volunteers who can assist with day-of activities and pre-workshop efforts
Connect us to drummers and singers for a Native American round dance
Lead a workshop or activity at the event
Donate funds or in-kind donations
For more information, get in touch with us.
Update to this post, 3/8/18: This post previously mentioned a community meeting, in which we invited supporters of this action to attend on Sunday, 3/11 from 3-5 PM in Boulder. This meeting has been postponed and will no longer be held on Sunday 3/11.