Honeymoon’s over, Mr. President. Time to save the planet!
That was the message from a handful of students who staged a “die-in” outside Morristown town hall on Thursday, one day after Joe Biden was sworn in as the nation’s 46th president.
Never mind that Biden already had signed several pro-environment executive orders, including one returning the United States to the Paris climate accord.
Event organizer Miles Gorman, a Frelinghuysen Middle School 8th grader, wants Biden to endorse the aggressive Green New Deal of New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
“Millions upon millions of lives” are at stake, said Gorman, struggling against a frosty January wind to affix a “Climate Action Now!” banner to a flagpole.
“We need our representatives to know we will not sit by idle while they ignore the problem…we are the next generation, and it’s our time to rise to ensure we can start the decade of the Green New Deal and secure millions of green jobs for everybody,” said the student, who pedaled to town hall on his Climate Strike Bike.
Gorman said he’s Morris County “hub organizer” for the national Sunrise Movement, an environmental nonprofit for people under 35. Clutching placards proclaiming themselves victims of floods, famines, wildfires and asthma, Gorman and three masked friends briefly assumed corpse poses for an audience of two.
Their inspiration is climate activist Greta Thunberg. In a tweet Thursday, the Swedish teenager mocked Sen. Ted Cruz for opposing the United States’ return to the Paris agreement.
“Greta has shown us, and shown the world, that young people do know things, and young people can make changes. She’s really inspired a lot of us to come out here and to do this,” said Rey Watson, a sophomore at Hunterdon Central Regional High School.
Morristown High freshman Elise Hinrichs said she is determined to hold elected officials accountable.
“I want a chance at a livable future. I have big dreams. I want to be able to do things in life. I can’t do that if our elected officials refuse to acknowledge that our planet is dying because of what we are doing,” she said.
As the students’ banner rippled in the wind, a pickup truck blew by with two banners of its own: An upside-down U.S. flag, and a flag emblazoned with an epithet against Biden.