Letter: Why I’m Taking My Kids Out of School on Sept. 20

On Friday, Sept. 20, at 2:30 p.m., you will find me and my children on the lawn of St. Mary’s Church in Cold Spring, joining millions of youth and adults around the world who will be striking to demand action on climate change.

To quote Kumi Naidoo, the secretary general of Amnesty International: “The climate emergency is the defining human rights issue of this generation of children. Its consequences will shape their lives in almost every way imaginable.”

It’s a rare day when I don’t think about climate change and how it will impact my children’s future. It’s always lurking in the back of my mind. Some parents don’t have the luxury of worrying about future climate destabilization. There are children all over the world right now suffering the impacts, physically and emotionally, of disasters like Hurricane Dorian that hit the Bahamas, or forest fires or mud slides.

Which is why I refuse to sit on the sidelines.

We’ve read the headlines about dire reports and the risks to our future for too long. We can’t spend another 10 years talking about climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was established in 1988, six years after I was born. We’ve been talking about this a long, long time.

Now, we have to act. We can start by demanding a price on carbon pollution and passing the Green New Deal that would immediately halt new fossil fuel projects and transition our economy to 100 percent renewable energy by 2030.

I will be taking my children out of school Sept. 20 because we are fighting for a just and livable world for everyone.

Krystal Ford, Garrison

One thought on “Letter: Why I’m Taking My Kids Out of School on Sept. 20

  1. Kudos to Krystal Ford and to all parents and students who are participating in this demonstration! Every citizen of Putnam County should be speaking up in some way about what we should be referring to as the Climate Crisis instead of Climate Change.
    It is easy to turn a blind eye and decline to disrupt our lives over this warning. But we do so at our peril as increasingly frequent and more violent wildfires, hurricanes, draughts and other severe weather conditions are already disrupting our lives in some way, as lives are lost, property destroyed and the economy adversely affected.

    The Climate Crisis will only worsen and our children and grandchildren will bear the brunt of water and food shortages and fewer places to live on this once-magnificent planet as inhabitable places disappear. Species will go extinct at a more rapid rate right up the food chain until we humans are threatened.

    Scientists have long speculated about the end of the earth due to an asteroid strike or the sun, which is a star, exploding, or ash covering the sun and freezing the earth. NASA has a program to search out asteroids and deal with them and the sun will likely not explode for a few billion years. Such dire events have been reflected in some of our favorite science fiction books, movies and TV shows for decades.

    But these are events that humans on planet Earth have not created. The Climate Crisis that we are now experiencing is apparently human-created and humans have the power to try to slow or reverse it.

    In our modern history we actually started talking about climate change in the 1950s, as this New York Times article demonstrates.

    By working together to take the urgent steps now to address the Climate Crisis seriously – i.e., rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement, transitioning to green renewable and zero-emissions energy, overhauling transportation systems for corporations and individuals, to name just a few steps — we might have a fighting chance to change a dystopian future created by the Climate Crisis for future generations.

    We need to urge our county leaders to show leadership on the Climate Crisis. It’s time to take stronger and more aggressive action to save our beautiful planet. Because the Climate Crisis is not something that is happening to other people; it is at our doorstep.