Global Climate Strikes (Pennsylvania editions)

Pittsburgh Interfaith Service prior to the youth climate rally

Scores of locations joined the Global Climate Strikes on Friday, September 20, and Friday, September 27, 2019, and PA IPL folks supported the events in so many ways. Meditations and services prepared the ground for vibrant youth-led events; a pair of rallies were set on the same day —noon and five— to catch the most passers-by; A Wake/Awake! For the Climate invited people to step boldly into a positive future. PA IPL folks brought a faithful presence, and shared faith practices and words as part of their witness, and those over thirty helped center and lift up youth in so many places and spaces.

Thank you for sharing your words and photos. There are a photos here on this page, but it’s worth browsing this album, too. Share Pennsylvania strike photos that are inspiring to you with us, and we’ll add them to the photo album.

The words
You can watch video of Hadassa’s speech in Philadelphia. Dasi is the teenager who invited you all to join the strikes via our blog and newsletter. Her invitation was referenced and cited in the rich and inspiring Rosh Hashana 5780 sermon of Rabbi Fred Scherlinder Dobb, a member of the national Interfaith Power & Light Board, and a rabbi at Adat Shalom, a Maryland congregation that has taken huge steps to walk more lightly on the earth, and whose warm and generous welcome of our PA IPL cyclists is a trip highlight every year.

The silent meditation in Pittsburgh will have to speak for itself!

In Altoona, Greg Williams spoke about the ways in which his work with young children and becoming a grandfather have created a relationship with the future for him. He also spoke about the importance of gathering in community to do this hopeful work, and of finding others who are supported by a relationship with the Holy.

In Harrisburg, where youth gathered on the steps of the state Capitol, Behzad Zandieh spoke about the work in front of us, referencing Baha’i holy writing and principles.

In State College at noon, Revs. Ben Williams and Kate Heinzel used two voices to lead people into 1.5 minutes of silence in honor of the 1.5 degree celsius warming limit target. At 5:00 PM, Marali Kalra and Cricket Hunter did the same.

As you move forward from these events we invite you to meditate further on the roles of the generations. This piece from Grist Magazine invites each of our generations to be better ancestors, anchoring that idea in the author’s own experience of an heirloom. Might it ground an interesting conversation in your study group or community? Or perhaps around your Thanksgiving table?

Seeking forgiveness: an invitation from a 13 year old with wisdom that goes back a lot further.

Hi, my name is Hadassah. I’m a 13-year old climate activist and daughter of a Rabbi.  In just a couple of weeks we are going to celebrate Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, where we focus as a Jewish community on teshuva, the process of seeking forgiveness and becoming our best selves. Our ancient sages even claimed that this process of seeking forgiveness was created before the world itself was created! (Babylonia Talmud Pesahim 54a) But, in light of the damage we have caused to our planet, how does one seek forgiveness from the earth?

Perhaps we can draw from Maimonides’ guidelines on repentance by (a) fully acknowledging our transgression and taking responsibility (b) allowing ourselves to experience remorse, and (c) taking steps to repair the damage. 

That is why I joined the Sunrise movement — a youth-led organization whose goal is to stop climate change and create millions of jobs in the process. Sunrise recognizes that we must act before the possibility of a livable planet diminishes. Specifically, the movement is calling for a Green New Deal, a ten year plan to transform our economy by guaranteeing almost 100% clean renewable energy by 2030, a living wage job to every American who needs one, and progress towards ending oppression of minority groups. I created a Sunrise Hub in Northwest Philadelphia to bring the Sunrise activism to our part of town and to fight climate change with my community.

I hope you all can consider joining me on September 20th when I, along with thousands of other youth from around the country, will be striking and standing up for our generation’s future. As the sage Hillel taught, “it is not up to us to finish the work, but we can’t desist from it either.” (Ethics of our Fathers 2:21) Wishing you all a sweet new year and a better year for our planet!