Updated: Mar 9, 2019
On 23rd January 2019, 16 year old Swedish climate activist, Greta Thunberg, addressed the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. In contrast to the many delegates who arrived by up to 1,500 individual private jet flights, Thunberg took a 32-hour train ride to get there. She told a Davos panel “Some people, some companies, some decision makers in particular have known exactly what priceless values they have been sacrificing to continue making unimaginable amounts of money. I think many of you here today belong to that group of people.” Later in the week she added "I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. We owe it to the young people, to give them hope.”
Her speech was watched by millions of people on news outlets around the world and quickly went viral on social media. Here was a seemingly introverted passionate, intelligent and resolved teenaged girl, telling the adult global elite to face up to their responsibilities - as the world's political leaders and influencial business leaders - to tackle climate change before it's too late. Her message was simple: According to the United Nations, we have until 2030 (just 11 years from now) to avert climate disaster and we need you, our leaders, to take urgent action to secure our future.
"We could be on the brink of a major turning point in human history. Our childen are saying loud and clear: 'Enough is enough. Adults, stop wasting time and take action on climate change now while we still can!'"
A Grassroots Youth Climate Movement
Now Greta's cause is gaining rapid momentum and inspiring youth protests for climate action in many countries including Austrailia, United Kingdom, Belgium and other European countries, as young people take control of their futures and walk out of schools to attend climate demonstrations.
In addition, the scientific community in the UK has spoken and fully endorsed the children's actions by signing their support for urgent climate action, based on overwhelming evidence for human-induced climate change. The strength, positivity and solidarity of the next generation of young people is growing, and paving the way for a global grassroots youth climate movement, which is dominating world news headlines globally. What a time to be alive!
On the Brink of Change
We could be on the brink of a major turning point in human history. Our childen are saying loud and clear: "Enough is enough. Adults, stop wasting time and take action on climate change now while we still can!" The next generation are scientifically and politically engaged, and despite being powerless to vote, they are voting by striking from school to attend peaceful protests.
Although children are missing a day of valuable education, that's nothing in comparison to what they stand to gain. They are fighting for a stable, secure and sustainable future for themselves, their children and their children's children for the 21st Century and beyond. They are fighting to save humanity.
An Inconvenient Truth
There is nothing more powerful than mass youth demonstrations for change. So politians and business leaders, listen. Our children are making their voices heard loud and clear, and it's time for you to respond to the climate crisis. The spotlight is on you now and this is yet another sobering reminder of the worsening state of our environment. We shouldn't need our children to have to point out the need for us adults to take action and avert climate disaster. Scientists have been telling us for decades. You have the power. You have our full support. We are prepared to make the necessary sacrifices. The technology to tackle climate change exists. We are just missing one vital thing - the political willpower to face up to the inconvenient truth of global warming on a scale necessary to resolve this issue before it's too late.
"The strength, positivity and solidarity of the next generation is growing, and paving the way for a global grassroots youth climate movement, which is dominating world news headlines around the globe. What a time to be alive!"
Which Side of History Will You Be On?
As an avid educationalist, I would never have thought I'd end up endorsing children skipping education to protest. But it seems these are extraordinary and exceptional times. We must listen to our children as our decisions today have very real consequences for their futures, and their children's futures this century. So which side of history will you be on?
Update: The climate strikes are going global!
Go to www.fridaysforfuture.org/eventmap for more info!
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