Kira Gilbert

I am frightened for my future and there is only a short window to do anything about it. I, and my classmates and friends, need the adults in charge to hear us and to understand what is at stake.

The Youth Climate Strike movement is gaining local, national and international attention. In September, as the Bend Bulletin reported, hundreds of people held a peaceful protest in downtown Bend calling for the state Legislature to take action to reduce climate pollution and dirty energy, joining tens of thousands of people across the state. In November activists showed up in Salem, delivering a strong message to their lawmakers: We need you to pass the meaningful action to reduce the effect of climate pollution and improve our economy. And we need it now.

It’s important for people to understand just how broad and mainstream the movement is for climate change action. Extreme anti-government and anti-science groups do not speak for regular Oregonians. A majority of state lawmakers were elected after promising voters they would take climate action. Unfortunately, during the last legislative session, Sen. Tim Knopp and other lawmakers turned their backs on us.

As a junior at Bend High, my future is at risk unless Sen. Knopp and other lawmakers stand up for us this time.

The smoke from wildfires threatens all Oregonians, especially children, seniors and people with respiratory problems; costs Oregonians millions of dollars every year in firefighting; and negatively impacts Oregon’s economy. A hotter, drier climate is making fires worse. Climate change is an emergency in Oregon. It’s long past time we took bold action to address it.

Bend is one of the most incredible places on the planet, and we have so many outdoor opportunities that are very important culturally, as well as economically. But climate change is diminishing those opportunities.

In November, 11,000 scientists jointly issued the strongest warning to date: the world is in a climate emergency that will cause “untold human suffering.” In Oregon, we see that effect first hand. In just one year, smoke from Oregon wildfires caused 226 premature deaths, 1,986 emergency room visits and 92 hospital admissions, costing $2.1 billion dollars.

My generation is taking note, and we are turning out at record rates to protect our futures. We have been skipping our lessons to teach the adults one that should be perfectly obvious by now. We’re in a crisis. We beg you to understand the severity of our situation and work to reduce the many types of pollution putting our future at risk.

We only have about 11 years to drastically cut down our carbon emissions before this climate crisis is irreversible. We don’t have time to wait any longer. The planet is burning up, and we need to create a long-term, sustainable solution to solve the problem. A problem of this magnitude requires a solution of an equal magnitude. I am doing everything that I can to be part of the solution, but I alone cannot solve the problem, and I need your help.

If we fail to enact meaningful climate change legislation in Oregon this year, it is going to be too late. I am asking lawmakers not to turn their backs on us and not walk away from taking action that protects me and my generation, our children and grandchildren.

I, as well as the rest of my generation, am counting on our lawmakers and adults to protect us. We are counting on them to give us hope for the future, and we are counting on them to hold themselves above, and do the right thing to protect our future.

— Kira Gilbert is a junior at Bend High School.

We only have about 11 years to drastically cut down our carbon emissions before this climate crisis is irreversible. We don’t have time to wait any longer. The planet is burning up, and we need to create a long-term, sustainable solution to solve the problem. A problem of this magnitude requires a solution of an equal magnitude. I am doing everything that I can to be part of the solution, but I alone cannot solve the problem, and I need your help.

— Kira Gilbert is a junior at Bend High School.

(5) comments

Thom

Liberal talking points get so old as protestors use the same lines over and over, and it is strange you mention wildfires. It was liberals who shut down logging creating much of the wildfire problems but you will never hear liberals take that blame. Further they ignore the big issue of the countries that cause most of the pollution. If you step outside your liberal talking points you will learn the US is making great strides compared to other countries.

McPete

Thank you for your article and pointing out what should be obvious to adults like Mr. Knopp—our hopefully soon-to-be-former state senator. His flight to Idaho (or what he calls “Free America”) was a shameful disservice to our community and the entire state, leading to ugly implied threats of far-right gun violence against the Oregon State Police. Let’s send him packing in November. I suspect that, unlike Mr. Knopp, Ms. Kiely will not run from hard issues like climate change and will ensure that our community actually has a voice at the table. Let’s FREE Mr. Knopp from the apparently unbearable bondage involved in representing our community so he can spend more time across the border in his vision of “Free America.”

https://www.khq.com/news/oregon-lawmaker-on-the-run-i-refer-to-idaho-as/video_db808b24-986b-11e9-86d4-33fa15e29be6.html

gsr

For the record it was Sen. Brian Boquist, R-Dallas who threatened police and fellow legislators. Senator Boquist was fined and had his access to the capital restricted.

Thom

Sen Knopp is our protection from Liberals who are destroying the state. If all of the Calif liberals moved back Bend would once again be a decent place.

gsr

I'm sorry Miss Gilbert but there are no adults in charge here, only petulant people acting like 12 year olds.

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