The Kids Are Working On Saving Life On Earth. How About You?
The kids are at it again, and it's beautiful. All over the world, young people today are marching and giving speeches and demanding political leaders show some leadership, please, as part of the World Climate Strike. The idea started last summer with a 16-year-old girl in Sweden after that country's hottest summer on record; Greta Thunberg protested outside the Parliament building for months, and it kind of caught on with the hashtag (and later a website) called "FridaysForFuture." So here we are on the Ides of March, and in the USA, the action (centered in DC but with related marches nationwide) was organized by three young women, Alexandria Villasenor, Haven Coleman, and 16-year-old Isra Hirsi, who's the daughter of Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar. (Get ready for rightwing trolls to condemn the climate movement as anti-Semitic.) Over a million young people in 123 countries are expected to participate by the end of the day.
This truly is a global thing -- though not a globalist thing -- reports Gizmodo's Earther:
The sun rose first on [the] Pacific where students in Australia, New Zealand, and small island nations walked out of school. Since then, mass walkouts have spread from South Korea to India to Nigeria to major European capitals. In Stockholm, an estimated 10,000 students pressed against barricades like a rock concert to see Thunberg, a far cry from her solitary strike that began seven months ago. In Torino, thousands sang "We Will Rock You." In Dakar, students gathered in the shade under the blistering sun. In Zurich, they huddled under umbrellas in the rain.
There was even a demonstrator in Antarctica.
It's a pretty relevant message to young folks, because as Charles Kettering said back in 1936, "I am not worried about the future at all. I don't like to run it down. I don't like to think of it being too dark because I expect to spend all the rest of my life there and I don't want to have a nasty end to it." Yeah, that version's a bit darker than the version shortened to "My interest is in the future because I am going to spend the rest of my life there." The original, with its prewar anxiety, seems to fit how these kids are facing climate change.
Here in America, the kids found landmarks and got behind microphones. A few samples!
This is Karla Stephan, a 14-year-old from Walt Whitman High School here in the #DC area. She’s issuing a call to he… https://t.co/CGhVRk1Uww— Marissa J. Lang (@Marissa J. Lang) 1552662040.0
Hundreds of kids in front of City Hall in New York cheering “Our future our earth” and “hey hey, ho ho, climate cha… https://t.co/PZvcBAVX9M— Sarah Kaplan (@Sarah Kaplan) 1552664801.0
Young people on the hills, in the trees, in the streets! Incredible energy at the Cambridge #YouthClimateStrike now… https://t.co/6YYgMptxV7— Robert Macfarlane (@Robert Macfarlane) 1552646679.0
One of the signs here: “I’ve seen smarter cabinets at IKEA” #YouthClimateStrike https://t.co/TTUesx0s8g— Emily Holden (@Emily Holden) 1552665775.0
Can't say Twitter's ad server quite got into the spirit of the thing, though:
Here, have some interviewy goodness from Isra Hirsi at The Cut:
At what age did you start to realize that we were — and still are — in the midst of a climate crisis?
I've kinda always been aware of climate change, but I guess I started doing something and realizing it a lot more around middle school, so when I was 12 and 13. I joined my school's green club my freshman year of high school and then I started going to protests around climate change.
You're one of three girls organizing the main U.S. action. How did you, Alexandria Villasenor, and Haven Coleman start to have conversations around this?
Haven contacted me via Instagram DM asking if I wanted to help her lead the climate strikes, and then we found out that Alexandria was organizing one in New York City, so then we connected with her, and that's where we started [...]
Why do you think that young people have emerged as some of the most inspiring leaders of environmental justice movement?
I think that young people sense the urgency. These adults don't really have to live with the problem of climate change, and young people have to deal with it for the rest of our lives. So it's more of like, we are the ones that recognize it and want to do something about it.
But what about your mom — she cares, right?
She was always as aware of the climate crisis, but I do a lot of my activism separately, and I've learned a lot without her. But she's been aware and I guess a climate champion, in her own sense, so yeah.
And she'll be one of the few — if not only — confirmed lawmakers attending the strike tomorrow. How does that feel?
It's pretty inspiring. It does say a lot about politicians in America, and also the ones that are actually willing to take real action.
As Yr Editrix said last year when the kids were calling for action to stop gun violence: These young people are inspiring, and we need to let them know they're not in this alone.
My mom was born in Hawaii, and is the same age as Obama's mother, so she feels like he is her child too -- the child of her entire generation. I feel the same way about these marvelous, brave, beautiful teens. They're all of ours, they belong to us.
And we will do this for them, and we will do it behind them, will have their goddamn backs for once, because our babies are FUCKING MAGNIFICENT.
Our kids -- all over the world -- are terrific and smart and active. We owe it to them to be better grownups and work to keep this planet livable. We're pretty short of spares.
[Guardian / Earther / WaPo / The Cut]
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