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Published September 4th, 2019
Environmental youth activists make plea to local town council
Earth Guardians Bay Area Crew, from left: Jasia, Rio and Magdalena Photo Vera Kochan

Roughly one year ago, Rio (who asked not to use his last name) became depressed after family friends lost their home to the Paradise Fire. That, coupled with continual media coverage about climate change and the environmental timeline of 12 years left to decrease emissions before irreversible damage to the Earth sets in, made him distraught over mankind's future. Rather than sit on the sidelines, he decided to take matters in his own hands by rekindling Earth Guardians Bay Area Crew, whose members range from grades three through eight.
During the Public Comments and Suggestions portion of the Aug. 28 Moraga Town Council meeting, members of Earth Guardians, a youth climate activist organization, made a presentation to the council.
Three students, Jasia (11), Magdalena (11) and her brother Rio (13), wore sashes pinned to their shirts with the word "Urgent" boldly written on them. They came to ask the town to consider using MCE Deep Green energy for all town-owned buildings, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The Earth Guardians website says they "train diverse youth to be effective leaders in the environmental, climate and social justice movements across the globe - using art, music, storytelling, on the ground projects, civic engagement and legal actions to advance solutions to the critical issues we face as a global community."
Jasia, the first speaker before the town council, stated, "I think that the town of Moraga needs to do 100% renewable energy that will help with stopping climate change. I am terrified about the future and how it will turn out if we do not pull the emergency brake on fossil fuels. I want my kids to have a future."
Magdalena added, "For the ones on the front lines, we are mostly white, rich communities so we don't have to worry about our homes getting burned or flooded. We don't have to live by oils seeping into our homes, schools, food, water and exhaust going into our air. We don't live by refineries and oil fields. I see us making loving decisions for all people, animals, climate and the future - a just future."
Rio ended with, "I'm concerned you as decision-makers know that you need to switch to 100% renewable energy, but decide not to switch because of the cost. I know Moraga can afford it. If you do need help through fundraising please contact us, because we can help fundraise." He added, "I would like to talk with you about the irony that CalPERS has a lot of investments in the fossil fuel industry that is destroying our planet."
The Earth Guardians are spurred on by the actions of Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old Swedish student who began to make politicians accountable for the climate crisis by conducting "school climate strike movements" to raise global awareness. The movement eventually took flight around the globe.
Earlier this year, Rio and Magdalena were part of an Earth Guardians group that staged a rally in San Francisco to attract the attention of Sen. Dianne Feinstein. They personally spoke with Feinstein about endorsing the Green New Deal - a proposed United States legislation targeting climate change and economic inequality. Student activists from groups such as Earth Guardians and Sunrise Movement will speak at a rally in Walnut Creek's Civic Park at 1 p.m. Sept. 21, in conjunction with the Global Climate Strike on Sept. 20, signifying the growing urgency of the climate crisis for the young people who will be primarily affected by it in coming decades.
For more information about Earth Guardians visit: www.earthguardians.org.

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