Thurston Youth Climate Coalition Die-In at Olympia City Hall

By: Alice Grendon | TCAT Communications Coordinator

On Tuesday May 24,th the Thurston Youth Climate Coalition (TYCC) took to the floor of Olympia City Council to demand greater urgency be placed on the implementation of the Thurston Climate Mitigation Plan (TCMP). TYCC held a rally with speeches at Heritage Park followed by a march to City Hall. The youth then entered the Council chambers for the City Council meeting while supporters held a candlelight vigil outside and chalked messages about the urgency of the climate crisis as it pertains to the lives of future generations.

Louisa Sevier of TYCC gave a powerful public comment which can be heard in the video above as the other members of TYCC ranging from ages 5-19 stood and in succession fell to the floor of the Council chambers as Sevier shared the deadly impacts of climate crisis if we fail to curb emissions by the end of the decade. The last student standing handed the City Council a Climate Report Card, giving them an overall grade of C on climate action. The report card can be found here and is broken down by sections with some areas earning lower grades than others.

As seen in the video above, Mayor Selby continued with public comment before she and other Council members addressed the students’ action, directing other public commenters to step around the youth that were sprawled across the Council chambers. For the observers in the room this poignantly embodied the injustice of the climate crisis – future generations suffer and pled with the adults who have decision making power to protect them, while leaders carry on with business-as-usual, step around, continue forward in a dangerous direction as if many are not already dying.

Following the conclusion of public comments, Council members addressed the students’ action, while the students remained laying on the floor of the chambers. Although most responses seemed like typical political diplomacy, it was clear that many members of the City Council were impacted and shook by TYCC action. We are grateful for the tireless organizing effort of youth leaders, and TCAT reaffirms our commitment to support their organizing and work for a healthy future in which young people will be able to thrive.

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