With more than 1,200 delegates attending, the Massachusetts Teachers Association approved a resolution “That the MTA delegation to the 2019 NEA Representative Assembly propose a national teachers strike in support of the Green New Deal.”

The submitters’ rationale noted that

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recently issued a report arguing that, by the year 2030, carbon emissions must fall to 45% below 2010 levels. The UN Environment Executive Director said, “It’s like a deafening, piercing smoke alarm going off in the kitchen. We have to put out the fire.”

They asked:

How can we continue to be role models for our students as the smoke alarm goes off—deafening, piercing—if we fail to make every effort to usher them to safety? How will we face our grandchildren as the planet we left them goes up in flames? “I’m sorry,” we’ll tell them. “I was too afraid. Too hopeless. Too busy.”

Or, maybe we will tell them a different story.

Maybe, when our grandchildren ask us how the Green New Deal was won, we can say it started with students—and then with us. That when the teachers went out on strike in 2019, others followed. First the nurses, then the hotel workers. Next came the TV writers, the teamsters, and the flight attendants. A general strike shut down the whole country until Congress passed a Green New Deal that the president signed into law. Millions of Americans soon started at the kinds of green jobs-with-justice that reshaped this country and saved the planet. We faced the crisis, wrestled emissions to net-zero, and put out the fire.

The few will continue to benefit from our fossil-fuel economy while the many suffer. Unless we stop them. There are more of us than there are of them. If only we’d remember that. If only we’d act like it.

Which side are we on? And what are we willing to do about it?