“My role is to be one of many, many activists who are pushing for climate action. I don’t see myself as a leader, or icon, or the face of a movement.”
That is what 16-year-old Greta Thunberg of Sweden said when she arrived in New York after a 15-day trip across the Atlantic Ocean in a zero-carbon emissions sailing boat.
Despite her protestations, this amazing and courageous young girl has indeed become an inspiration and a symbol of youth who are not happy about how adults have treated the planet. Greta’s fight is a fight to confront the truth of climate warming, in this current unprecedented historical moment, to tell the truth about what we have already lost and what we stand to lose if we do not take revolutionary action to change the way we do things. That will take great effort and great courage.
Last December Greta had the courage to say to United Nations climate negotiators in Poland: “You are not mature enough to tell it like it is. Even that burden you leave to us children.” She wants adults to act as if the house is on fire, because it is.
In Greta’s Friday school strike for climate, only a few students joined in at the beginning. But, word got around and courage can be contagious. Other students from other cities followed her lead. On March 15 the first global school strike for climate took place: 2000 strikes in 125 countries on every continent with 1.6 million striking in one single day.
The youth of our present world are asking people of all ages to join them in their fight for the future. Join them as they go on strike for the climate beginning Friday, September 20.
Can we support them? Indeed, we can and we must. If ever there was a universal moral imperative that enjoined all human beings to act in concert, it is the following: Act in support of our young people who are fighting to preserve the earth for future generations.
When asked what she wanted to achieve with this climate strike Greta said: “I want September 20 to be another tipping point where people start to realize the urgency of the crisis, and that we have people of all ages standing together, fighting for the same cause.”
Let us join together as a community and help Greta and our Powell River students and youth inspire action to mitigate our climate warming crisis. Many small businesses, health clinics, schools and organizations throughout Powell River will be showing their support by closing down for an hour Friday, September 20.
On that day climate activists from Climate Action Powell River, UnspOILed Coast and the Council of Canadians will hold a rally with speakers, musicians and spoken-word artists beginning at 12 pm in front of Powell River-Sunshine Coast MLA Nicholas Simons’ office. On Saturday September 21, there will be a demonstration for action on climate change in front of Powell River Public Library beginning at 11:30 am. On Friday, September 27, Brooks students will strike in solidarity with students around the world.
Fred Guerin is a philosophy professor at Vancouver Island University. Climate Action Powell River Society is a non-profit society committed to helping the residents and businesses of Powell River to reduce their greenhouse gas.