Environment

A youth-led coalition of environmental groups will pressure Louisville to declare a climate emergency on Friday as part of a worldwide movement to demand action on global warming.

The coalition of students from across the state will join more than 150 countries as part of the Global Climate Strike. The demonstration precedes the United Nations 2019 Climate Action Summit in New York City that begins on Monday.

Listen to Alice Melendez of Extinction Rebellion discuss the demonstration on WFPL’s Morning Edition:

Climate Strike co-lead Fernanda Scharfenberger, a student at Louisville’s Presentation Academy, said climate change requires a mass mobilization of people working together to demand action.

“We may not be able to vote yet, but we have to go to these lengths to get people’s attention and to get people to take action,” Scharfenberger said.

The demonstration will take place across from City Hall in Jefferson Memorial Park beginning at 10 a.m. Mayor Greg Fischer is expected to speak, as well as a number of environmental advocates from across the state.

At noon, environmental advocates will deliver their monthly letter calling on the mayor to make drastic reforms in areas including transportation and renewable energy. Amid budget cuts earlier this year, city leaders chose to lay off Louisville’s sustainability director and fold the independent office into the Office of Advanced Planning.

Kentucky has little more than a decade to drastically reduce its reliance on fossil fuels and do its part to save the planet from the worst impacts of climate change

The planet is already on track to warm 2.7 degrees above pre-industrial levels by 2040. Just about one extra degree of warming presents an urgent and potentially irreversible threat to humankind and the planet, according to the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

In Kentucky, global warming increases the likelihood of extreme weather events including larger storms, more frequent flooding, heatwaves and drought. That, in turn, will affect everything from air pollution, to crop yields, to Kentucky’s ecosystems.

Information from Climate Strike Coalition:

WHO: The Youth Climate Strike Coalition

WHAT: Kentucky September 20 Climate Strike

WHEN: Friday, September 20, 2019, Rally at  10:00, and Letter Drop at 12:00. All activities conclude by 2:00 PM.

WHERE: Jefferson Square Park

Ryan Van Velzer is WFPL's Energy and Environment Reporter.