The best news of the week was brought to us by students skipping school! That’s right … kids from 123 nations chose to take a stand, to make their voices heard about climate change, so they played hookey, skipped school and engaged in peaceful protest on Friday.
Last October, the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned that without dramatic change, global emissions are set to rise to a level that would usher in catastrophic consequences in just over a decade. Exactly one month later, the historic Camp Fire broke out in Paradise, California, claiming 85 lives and destroying more than 15,000 structures.
There are three types of reactions to this: 1) those who still claim to deny that human activities are destroying our atmosphere, 2) those who agree and somewhat understand that climate change is indeed a very imminent threat, but do nothing, and 3) those who are doing something, either making changes in their own lifestyle, lobbying Congress to take action, or speaking out loudly enough to get the attention of the first two groups. These kids are in the 3rd group!
The young people understand, for they are not blinded by the things we are … convenience, laziness, and greed. They also realize that it is their future, far more than ours, that is threatened. It is reminiscent of the young people who turned into activists for gun control after the Parkland school shooting in February 2018, but on a much grander scale.
Around the world, students in 123 countries will not be attending classes in protest, instead taking to the streets to demand their leaders take meaningful action to address climate change. In the United States, the Youth Climate Strike group, founded by three young women from Colorado, New York, and Minnesota, has helped organize strikes in over 100 cities across the country.
One such group, Minnesota Can’t Wait, is co-founded by Isra Hirsi, aged 16, who just happens to be the daughter of freshman congresswoman Ilhan Omar. When asked why she and her group were participating in Friday’s protest, she had this to say …
“Because you need dramatic action for dramatic change. And it’s really important, especially in the United States, when we probably are the biggest contributors to climate change in this entire world, to take that action and to show our politicians that younger people really care about this issue from all different communities and all different places and we want to do something about it, and we’re not going to stand idly by [while] you [are] not doing anything.”
The youth climate strikes began last September, when Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old climate activist from Sweden, stopped going to school on Fridays. She quickly became known for skipping school to protest outside the Swedish Parliament, all in an effort to draw attention to climate change and demand her government implement policies in line with the Paris climate agreement. Since then, students of all ages and from most nations have been striking to demand action on climate change.
It is estimated that 1.4 million young people took part in the protests. According to Greta Thunberg …
“This movement had to happen, we didn’t have a choice. We knew there was a climate crisis … We knew, because everything we read and watched screamed out to us that something was very wrong.”
They could see what our leaders in Washington D.C. cannot see, that ‘something’ is ‘very wrong’. I give two thumbs up to these young people who are determined to make themselves heard for the future of this planet … for their future! I will let them tell you of their efforts through pictures from around the world yesterday.
Perhaps we could all take a page out of these kids’ books? Great jobs, young people! I’m proud to know that you are the future of our planet … perhaps there is hope after all!