Jessica Cejnar / Friday, Sept. 6 @ 6:13 p.m. / Community, Environment, Ocean, Weather

Global Climate Strike Comes To Del Norte With Local Speakers, Coastal Cleanup Day


The Del Norte Climate Justice Alliance is spearheading a series of events for Global Climate Strike week.

A group of advocates hope to use Global Climate Strike week to start a local conversation about how climate change will impact Del Norte County, and they say they need help.

The Del Norte Climate Justice Alliance is planning a series of educational events beginning with a climate strike on Sept. 20, alliance member Chrystal Helton told the Wild Rivers Outpost on Friday.

There will be an art and movie night on Sept. 25 with Mahlija Florendo as the presenter. Sheryl Steinruck will lead a talking circle focusing on climate change grief, Helton said. The week will end with a rally and a panel discussion on Sept. 27 focusing on how climate change is impacting local waterways and fisheries, Helton said.

Though she hasn’t confirmed who the speakers will be at the panel discussion, Helton said they could include Per-gish Carlson, owner of Blue Creek Guide Service, and Jaytuk Steinruck, who works in the Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation’s natural resources department.

“Our No. 1 priority is awareness and getting people in touch with one another, networking and having conversations, ‘How is it going to affect us locally.’” Helton said. “It will be solutions-based as much as possible.”

Global Climate Strike is from Sept. 20 to Sept. 27. According to globalclimatestrike.net, million swill walk out of their workplaces and homes to join youth and demand an end to fossil fuels.

Helton said she and others in the group including local social advocates Jermaine Brubaker and Manuel Saavedra, who works with the Chicanx Club at College of the Redwoods, came up with holding a local climate change strike after visiting events in Oakland and San Francisco last year.

Climate change scares people, Helton said. She noted that climate change grief is something a lot of people are struggling with. She described climate change grief as a feeling of utter hopelessness and uncertainty around what to do about it.

“It’s something we’re talking about, starting the week off with,” Helton said. “How do we talk to each other about this and create a safe space for us to talk about this. It’s not going away.”

Global Climate Strike also coincides with California Cleanup Day, held on Sept. 21. The Smith River Alliance will spearhead the local effort, providing lunch and snacks, trash bags, pickers and dumpsters, according to a news release from the nonprofit conservation organization.

New this year will be a beach cleanup for students on Sept. 20 organized by Crescent Elk Middle School and Joe Hamilton Elementary School, according to the nonprofit.

California Coastal Cleanup Day is the largest volunteer effort in the U.S., while International Coastal Cleanup Day is the largest volunteer effort in the world, according to the Smith River Alliance.

Helton said she hopes the Del Norte Climate Justice Alliance will have the schedule of events for Climate Strike week nailed down following a meeting on Thursday. However she hopes to get people to help connect with how Del Norte County Unified School District is addressing climate change. She said she also hopes to have more youth involved in Climate Justice Week.

It’s also important to get Crescent City and Del Norte County elected officials involved as well, Helton said. She said she hopes awareness will lead to accountability and action.

“We want our local leaders thinking about how to bring us together to find solutions that the people agree on and are going to work toward together,” she said. “Ultimately what my vision for this is we start a movement here.”

The next Del Norte Climate Justice Alliance meeting will be held at 3:30 p.m. Thursday at College of the Redwoods’ Del Norte campus, 883 W. Washington Boulevard in Crescent City. For more information, visit the Del Norte Climate Justice Alliance Facebook page.

For more information about the 2019 California Coastal Cleanup, call Tara Dettmar at (904) 591-0901 or email tkdettmar@gmail.com. To RSVP, call Dan Burgess at (707) 954-3569 or email dburgess@dnrhs.org.


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