Mayor Steinberg urges young climate protesters at California Capitol to demand action
Hundreds of Sacramento-area young people and their supporters gathered outside the state Capitol Friday to push for greater action to combat climate change — part of a worldwide youth protest that drew millions in cities around the globe.
The local protest was organized by Supriya Patel, 13, a Sacramento eighth-grader. “I am terrified because the climate crisis isn’t rapidly approaching, it is right here right now,” Patel told the crowd. “I am terrified because by the time I’m 25 years old, climate change could become irreversible.”
Like Patel, hundreds of other young people in the crowd had taken time off school to attend the climate strike. They said they were taking a variety of actions to do their part, from not eating meat to not using plastic.
Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg opened the event by telling the young people in the crowd that while it’s admirable and necessary to them to take up the mantle of leadership, “we adults cannot just hand it over to young people. We need to take action now.”
“Some people say climate change is an existential crisis, as if 30 or 40 years from now we’re going to have to worry about it,” Mayor Steinberg said. “It’s not an existential crisis. It’s a state of emergency right now in 2019.”
Mayor Steinberg has for many years helped lead the effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in California. While serving in the state Senate, he authored SB 375, which tied transportation funding to compact and walkable land use planning. As mayor of Sacramento, he has established the Mayors’ Commission on Climate Change with West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon. The commission is working to adopt a series of recommended policies that would allow the two cities to meet the state goal of achieving carbon neutrality — known as Carbon Zero — by 2045.