Our House is on Fire: How Librarians can Help Young Climate Activists
Many librarians are inspired by Greta Thunberg and the millions of young people who have begun mobilizing to pressure government and corporate entities to address the climate crisis. During the Global Climate Strike week from September 20 to 27, 2019, it is estimated that over 7.5 million people worldwide joined Thunberg in agitating for change (Global Climate Strike, 2019). Our situation is dire. In June of 2019, scientists at the Permafrost Laboratory at the University of Alaska Fairbanks reported that permafrost melting in the Canadian High Arctic had already exceeded estimates of melting not previously expected to occur until the year 2090 (Farquharson et al., 2019). In response, Jennifer Morgan, executive director of Greenpeace International, stated that “thawing permafrost is one of the tipping points for climate breakdown and it’s happening before our very eyes” (Reuters, 2019). Rapid permafrost thawing would suddenly release enormous quantities of carbon dioxide and methane, initiating a feedback loop that could cause global temperature to rise even more catastrophically (Reuters, 2019). Recently, 400 scientists from 20 different countries released a statement urging mass actions of civil disobedience as the only way to pressure policy makers to act quickly enough in order to avert the worst consequences of climate change (Green, 2019).