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Hundreds of youth activists with the environmental group Youth Vs. Apocalypse took part in a recent a 24-hour vigil in downtown San Francisco, calling on the agency that manages California teachers’ pension funds to divest from the fossil fuel industry.
The Aug. 27 rally began around 10 a.m., outside the Federal Building at 90 Seventh St., where the offices of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are located, and included youth activists chanting, drawing messages with colorful chalk on the sidewalk, and holding signs that read things like “Divest Line 3” and Biden Stop Line 3.”
Around noon, the activists marched to San Francisco City Hall, where they began a 24-hour vigil that concluded Saturday morning. The vigil aimed to draw attention to what the activists say is a climate emergency.
According to the activists, the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, or CalSTRS, invests over $6 million in the fossil fuel industry, with millions going to the Canadian company Enbridge Energy.
“Youth demand that adults stop supporting and investing in environmental racism and climate destruction; we demand the right to a livable and just future.”Youth Vs. Apocalypse statement
Enbridge is responsible for building the Line 3 oil pipeline, a controversial proposed pipeline that would go from Alberta, Canada, to Superior, Wisconsin. The project is being opposed by indigenous peoples and environmentalists, and has prompted large protests in Minnesota.
In a statement, activists with Youth Vs. Apocalypse said, if completed, the pipeline project would be capable of carrying enough oil to produce about 170 billion kilograms of carbon dioxide per year, equivalent to some 38 million vehicles on our roads.
“This pipeline also violates the treaty rights of the Aanishinaabe people, and like most climate disasters, impacts BIPOC communities disproportionately. We know that treating BIPOC communities as disposable is the root of climate breakdown that will affect everyone. Youth are calling for an end to environmental racism from Line 3 to here in San Francisco, where Bayview Hunters Point and Treasure Island face disproportionate climate and pollution impacts, especially with coming sea level rise,” the group said.
The group is also calling for the continued cleanup of toxic substances at local places like Treasure Island and the Hunters Point neighborhood.
“Youth demand that adults stop supporting and investing in environmental racism and climate destruction; we demand the right to a livable and just future,” the group said.