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PRESS RELEASE: Over a Thousand Youth Join National Day of Dedication for Climate Change-Themed Time Capsules

PRESS RELEASE: Over a Thousand Youth Join National Day of Dedication for Climate Change-Themed Time Capsules

Their message was clear: young people won’t let corrupt politicians or fossil fuel executives decide their futures


Date: November 18, 2017

Contact: Laura Cofsky / 917–282–6171 / [email protected]

[Nationwide] On the heels of the first UN Climate Negotiations since Trump pulled out of the Paris Agreement, well over a thousand young people took part in Sunrise Movement’s Climate Legacy Time Capsule Project’s national Day of Dedication on November 18 in 25 cities across the country, communicating that that they will hold accountable politicians who support fossil fuel executives over young Americans when they are up for election next November.

The time capsules were filled with locally-contributed ‘letters to the future’ and objects representing what individuals love and are fighting to protect from climate change. They will be opened simultaneously with other time capsules across the country on November 2067.

“As the UN Climate Talks close, young people sent a clear message to the world: we won’t let Trump put billions of lives at risk so his billionaire friends can pad their wallets,” said William Lawrence, a volunteer with Sunrise Michigan who spoke at the event in Lansing. “We are building a movement across the country and are ready to kick out politicians who put fossil fuel lobbyists above our futures, no matter their political party.”

Speakers across the country included Cliff Thaell, Leon County Commissioner in Tallahassee; US Representative Erin Maye Quade and Rebecca Otto, State Auditor of the U.S. state of Minnesota and a candidate in the 2018 election for Governor of Minnesota in Minneapolis; Sara Ward, Executive Director of Ohio Interfaith Power and Light in Columbus and Betamia Coronel with 350.org. There were also a number of high school students who spoke, including Justin Moen in Madison and Janek Wuigt in Columbus.

Another message of the event was that society’s youth will be the ones to experience climate change most acutely, and that its effects are already present and very personal. In the US alone, 200,000 people die per year from pollution, and storms like Harvey and Maria are expected to become much more frequent in the coming years.

“The youth have no lack of information. Our schools teach us daily about the devastating impacts of human-caused climate change,” said Janek Wuigt, a high school student at Arts and College Preparatory Academy in Ohio. “But feeling guilty won’t change anything. Investing in us as future world savers might sound nice, but it’s time for everybody to act!”

The speeches were followed by a procession of residents contributing personal items and heartfelt letters related to their experiences with climate change to the time capsule. Objects included pictures of loved ones, drawings from children, jewelry that holds sentimental value for the contributors, and even patches of land from beloved places.

“Society has a choice to make,” said Varshini Prakash, spokesperson for Sunrise Movement and delegate at COP 23 in Bonn. “Will we stick with the status quo, potentially leaving a bleak future for young Americans? Or will we bury our fossil fueled past with the time capsules and build a healthier, more prosperous future for us all?”

The Climate Legacy Time Capsule Project was launched by Sunrise, a movement of young people to stop climate change and create millions of good jobs in the process. The event was made possible with collaboration from Power Shift Network, Sustain US, Sierra Student Coalition, Better Future Project, DSCE and Alliance for Climate Education.


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