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Town hall slated in Santa Fe for Green New Deal

April 20, 2019 GMT

Young people in New Mexico and across the U.S. have become increasingly involved in the climate change movement, backing the Green New Deal proposed earlier this year by U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and organizing a global Youth Climate Strike last month to advocate for environmental protections.

About 500 middle school and high school students gathered in downtown Santa Fe in solidarity with youth from 2,000 communities worldwide to raise awareness about a planet in peril.

But the Climate Strike wasn’t just a one-time event, said Hannah Laga Abram, a senior from Santa Fe Waldorf School who spearheaded the local event. It’s an ongoing, “intergenerational, intersectional conversation,” she said.

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Adults have been listening.

In Northern New Mexico, more and more baby boomers are joining local youth in what has been dubbed the Sunrise Movement.

On Thursday evening, the effort will continue with a town hall in Santa Fe to discuss the Green New Deal — specifically, organizers say, to talk about why the eco-friendly economic policy resolution should be a top priority for politicians and why it’s crucial that older people help create a safe and livable world for future generations.

Laga Abram, one of the speakers, will address a crowd of lawmakers, environmentalists and activists of all ages.

The fight against climate change “is not going to be over,” she said. “… It is going to be an ongoing struggle.”

Santa Fe Mayor Alan Webber and U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland, D-N.M., are also scheduled to speak at the town hall.

Fighting climate change is “definitely a multigenerational effort,” said Craig O’Hare of Santa Fe, a longtime activist who helped organize the gathering, scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Center for Progress and Justice.

“Around the world, we’ve got [kids] turning to the adults, saying, ‘This is unacceptable that you’re leaving us with this wounded planet,’ ” O’Hare said. “… If that’s not compelling to adults, I don’t know what is.”

Since a growing number of children and teens have stood up against climate change, O’Hare said, he’s noticed older people — and the media — have taken a renewed interest the environment. He believes today’s youth “might just make the difference.”

However, said Leslie Lakind, a longtime activist and local dentist, youth can’t do it alone.

“We have the money, we can vote, we say we love our children,” Lakind said of adults. “ … We have dropped the ball terribly, and we owe it to them.”

Organizers expect numerous other Democratic New Mexico politicians to attend Thursday’s event, including state Sen. Peter Wirth, State Land Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard, Santa Fe City Councilor Renee Villarreal, state Rep. Andrea Romero and U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján.

IF YOU GO

What: “Preventing Catastrophic Climate Change — Preserving a Livable Planet,” a Town hall on the Green New Deal

When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday

Where: Center for Progress and Justice, 1420 Cerrillos Road