On Friday, March 25th, from 1-4 pm a “Global School Strike for Climate” was held on the West Steps of the Capitol building- with a special twist. The rally, hosted by the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians, was co-organized by Tribal Chairman Michael Hunter and Mendocino County Youth For Climate (MCYC) Co-Founder Sara Rose. This event, which was a spin-off of the international Global School Strike for Climate planned for the same day, was intended to highlight the intersection between the shared goals of restoring Native American Land Rights and addressing climate change.
Over 200 people attended, including representatives from the Mendocino Trail Stewards, the Environmental Protection and Information Center, The Sierra Club, the California Native Plant Society, Sacred Lands Native Hands, 350 Sacramento, several environmental activist groups and more. Native American dancers and singers traveled from as far away as L.A. to perform. One attendee stated it “… felt like being part of history. Seeing the tribal dancers, here on the grass in front of the capitol, was a powerful moment- and hopefully an indication of the direction we’re heading in as a state!”
In anticipation of logging potentially resuming on a number of highly contested timber harvest plans in the coming weeks, members of the Coalition to Save Jackson Demonstration State Forest headed to Sacramento on Wednesday to garner the support of legislators. The cross coalition team was composed of MCYC Co-Founders Sara Rose and Ravel Gauthier, Michelle McMillan- organizer and Media Representative with Mama Tree Mendo and President of Overstand, Matthew Bostock- Environmental Activist and Movement Coordinator for Overstand, Chad Swimmer- Co-Founder of the Mendocino Trail Stewards, climate and LGBTQIA+ activist, and educator for 25 years, and Justine Lemos Ph.D.- Youth Climate Activist Liaison.
The team, working in support of Chairman Michael Hunter’s efforts, went door to door raising awareness of the issue through the Senate and Assembly. They met with Senator Mike McGuire (2nd District) and Senator John Laird, Former Secretary of Natural Resources, among others. In summary “It was hard work, but I enjoyed the chance to directly meet with legislators and to try to convince them to take action on the issues we care about even if it was hard to discern their true intentions.” said 12-year-old Gauthier.
When asked where she sees the movement going from here Rose stated; “oh… onwards! Whatever that looks like. I think it depends a lot on what comes from this, what the actual responses are, and whether people will follow through on what we talked about while lobbying.”
While the Coalition has repeatedly requested an “indefinite moratorium be put in place immediately until the JDSF management plan can be rewritten to reflect modern climate science and integrate indigenous co-management,” logging could begin in JDSF as soon as mid-April.