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Youths speak out

“Come senators, congressmen

Please heed the call

Don’t stand in the doorway

Don’t block up the hall”

Bob Dylan’s iconic song was released more than half a century ago. On Wednesday, Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish climate activist, channeled Dylan before a U.S. House climate change hearing. She implored committee members to heed the call of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which issued a landmark report last year warning of the consequences of a warming planet.

“I am submitting this report as my testimony because I don’t want you to listen to me, I want you to listen to the scientists,” Thunberg said. “I want you to unite behind science. And then I want you to take real action.”

Thunberg is not alone. Across the country and the world, young people are standing up and demanding action from those in positions of power to address the growing threat from global warming. Here in the Rogue Valley, students in Ashland, Phoenix and Medford will march to rallies in their respective towns this morning before returning to class.

The world’s ice sheets are shrinking and its glaciers are retreating. Sea levels are rising, and weather patterns are changing.

Whether humans can stop or even slow this process is a matter of debate. It may be that these global forces are too powerful to alter. It may be too late.

But the young people mobilizing here and around the world are not waiting to find out. They want action, and they want it now. It would behoove us to listen.