Above Photo: Sam Whiting.
San Francisco – A group of youth climate activists scattered wildfire ashes on Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco porch Monday, a final act of civil disobedience at the end of a 266-mile march meant to spur lawmakers to action on climate change.
Pelosi did not appear — nor did Sen. Dianne Feinstein when the activists stopped by her Pacific Heights mansion earlier in the day — but, if home, the Speaker may have spotted a glimpse of the giant street mural the activists left behind on Broadway at Normandie Terrace. The 16-foot painting advertised the group’s goal: a civilian climate corps to combat global warming.
“Invest in us,” the painting read, above the fanning yellow rays emblematic of the youth-led Sunrise Movement that sponsored the protest.
For several dozen activists, the attention-grabbing mural and the symbolic ash scattering were the culmination of a weeks-long trek from Paradise, in the fire-scarred foothills of Butte County, site of the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California history. Carrying ashes from Paradise to Pelosi’s steps, the group hoped to draw attention to the urgent threat of human-driven climate change.
“Nancy Pelosi, I want you to get off your butt and do something,” 10-year old Eloise Simons of Oakland. “Our future is getting fudged up.”
President Biden’s American Jobs Plan calls for $10 billion for a civilian climate corps laid out in legislation co-sponsored by Feinstein. Funding for the proposed corps remains uncertain as the White House and lawmakers negotiate.
Pelosi called the climate crisis “the existential threat of our time” and, through a spokesperson, said the youth activists are “an inspiration,”
But the marchers weren’t satisfied.
“What do we want? A green new deal!” they chanted in unison. “When do we want it? Now!”
The marchers will next take their message to Washington D.C., where youth from all over the country will converge at the White House on June 28 to call for a fully funded civilian climate corps, said Sally Morton, a Sunrise Movement organizer.
“The fight doesn’t end here,” Morton said.
Nearby, a police patrol car and two Department of Public Works trucks equipped with steam washers sat parked at the curb. Minutes after the marchers dispersed, city workers began power washing the activists’ paint from the pavement.