Fighting for the Future
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Mobilizing for Climate Action
All over the world people are becoming increasingly aware of the need for activism in the face of climate change. As we keep hearing from the scientists, we are running low on time! Although many out there that might not need the reminder. Indeed, concern for climate change is already propagating greater civil action, as people witness firsthand the environmental changes taking place. The planet is heating up and we are the cause.
Thankfully, we can also provide solutions! In fact, there are already plenty of climate solutions available (check out Project Drawdown). What we need is immediate and significant action. Therein lies the greatest challenge yet. How to change the status quo. Those running many of the countries and companies that are most responsible for greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation, and industrial pollution, also happen to be the very same that are benefiting the most from such operations.
It will therefore take considerable social action and public support to move things in a more sustainable direction. The good news is, the movement is already underway! Just last month I shared with you some cool environmental organizations. This time, I will explore several grassroots organizations that are currently fighting for the future.
It is especially inspiring to see so many youth-based organizations taking shape and actively participating in the political discourse. The activism comes from a deep concern for their future, the environment, and government inability to seriously confront climate change (see also Defend Your World).
These movements are springing up all around the world. Motivated by commonly held beliefs, and a desire for better, they are supported by similar social action that is taking place internationally. In the United States for instance, there is the Sunrise Movement (pic above). With local chapters in cities across the country, they have been building incredible momentum. They are resolved to unify and engage with fellow members of their generation, in an effort to break the country’s fossil fuel dependency.
Sunrise in Washington DC
The Sunrise Movement recently gained greater media attention for showing up at the office of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. With the Democratic Party’s congressional victory in the recent US Midterm Elections, the young activists are calling upon Ms. Pelosi to introduce more substantial climate legislation.
They have already gained the support of newly elected NY Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC), who joined them at the sit in. There, AOC discussed the prospect of a Green New Deal for Americans. A plan to address the climate crisis through significant and encompassing government action (see What’s the Green New Deal?).
Fighting for Life Itself
Across the Atlantic, Extinction Rebellion represents yet another organization that has been making the news. These environmental activists have been disrupting London traffic as they regularly descend upon British Parliament in demand of greater climate action (see Desmog UK). Described by the organization’s cofounder Roger Hallam, civil disobedience is required for concerned citizens to exercise their duty and rise up for their very survival (see The Guardian).
For those in the environmental movement, greater activism is increasingly mandated. Governments are simply not doing what they were elected to do ( ie. look out for the long-term interests of society). As one recently arrested 85-year-old Canadian grandmother and (oil) pipeline protestor put it, “Facing 14 days in jail frightens me, but a climate catastrophe frightens me more,” (Joanne Manley).
In Northern Europe, 15-year-old Greta Thunberg has been periodically missing school (since August) to protest before the Swedish government. She felt compelled to act, and questioned the point of learning anything if those running the country couldn’t adhere to the facts of climate change (see Cutting Class for Climate Change).
Clearly more needs to be done to address the climate crisis! Greta for one took it upon herself to take a stand for the environment. Despite criticism from her teachers and some politicians, she continues protesting. As she explains, “I don’t care if I get into trouble at school. I believe that one person can make a difference” (see linked article above).
Video from Greenpeace International
A Powerful Request
Greta’s words are heartfelt and cut straight to the point. Lawmakers, the media, and adults in general are holding her future and that of all future children, in their hands.
We really need to acknowledge the crisis with the gravity it deserves. In that regard, Greta is walking the talk! She has been hard at work communicating her message, and her actions are already bearing fruit.
The Swedish teenager has helped get climate change greater attention in her own country and beyond. This video (above), was taken as she was speaking before an enormous crowd in Helsinki. It turned out to be Finland’s largest ever Climate March and led to even more discussion of the climate crisis.
As a result of her actions, Greta is proving her own words. One person can make a difference!
In the Land Down Under
Australian students are also following Greta’s lead. They too are fed up with their government’s inaction over climate change. Although they are not yet old enough to vote, they will be the ones to inherit much of the mess that will result from global warming.
They kicked off School Strike 4 Climate Action, a country-wide movement demanding that the Australian government reflect the interests of the future. In response to the Australian Prime Minister’s criticism of their activism, one student explained, “We’re taught about how amazing this planet is and how important it is that we look after the environment, but he won’t let us do anything about it,” (Sydney Morning Herald).
Well, it turns out that there are plenty kids that want to do something about it! On November 28th, students from all over the country are walking out of school in protest for the environment (The Guardian). They want the parliament to take emergency action, and will continue to hold protests until the government recognizes the very serious danger posed by human-derived climate change.
A Message from the Kids
— Senator Jordon Steele-John (@Jordonsteele) November 27, 2018
Holding Out Hope
Watching so many young people take action is amazing! It certainly helps keep me hopeful. If people continue to turn up in such numbers, it will inevitably force governments to respond. These inspirational activists are helping to generate the political will that is so desperately required. In so doing, we can succeed in implementing the changes needed to avoid further catastrophic warming.
It’s tough! No doubt about it. It’s crazy difficult to change the status quo. But it’s happened before, and it can happen again. It’s certainly worth the struggle and we really no longer have a choice. Society needs to adapt, and operate in such a way as to live within the limitations of our environment. It’s either that, or we will find ourselves going the way of the dinosaurs that we are currently burning for fuel. We can and must do better! I’m sincerely and totally grateful to all these young activists. They are quite literally fighting for the future, and I commend them for it.