Sharon Delgado: Taking action with the Global Climate Strike
In a recent article, climate leader Bill McKibben challenged adults to offer support to children and youth who face accelerating climate change by joining in upcoming Global Climate Strike actions. He asked, “On what kind of world do we expect 15-year-olds to tackle our biggest problems by themselves?”
Those of us who care need to offer our support to young people who are calling for bold action on climate change. Around the world, young people are rising to this challenge with passion and dedication that elude most of us who are older and more immersed in what we consider realistic within the current social and political state of affairs. As climate-related disasters become more common, young people are exposed to the impacts and dangers of climate change. They also face other related social and environmental challenges. Few young people have the means to invest in electric cars or solar panels; many do not have the political power that comes with the vote. They know that they have not caused climate change, but that it will impact them and their descendants into the future. For these reasons, they call not only for lifestyle change but for climate justice, which will entail broad social and political change.
The Global Climate Strike, scheduled for the week of Sept. 20-27, is an outgrowth of Fridays for Future, a global youth movement that was started by Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg. She started going on strike from school every Friday to highlight the climate crisis. She asks, “Why study for a future that may not be there?” Friday for Future strikes have caught on; varied actions have taken place in countries around the world. Now Thurnberg and other climate strikers are calling for people of all ages to show support by participating in a Global Climate Strike. People have responded by organizing strikes, demonstrations, and other actions in over 150 countries.
It is expected to be the largest coordinated global climate action ever.
Over 500 actions are scheduled in the United States alone, including locally. On Friday, Sept. 20, people of all ages will gather for rallies in front of both the Nevada City and Grass Valley city halls at noon until 2 p.m., or for any part of that time. The goal of these rallies is to show solidarity with young people, both in our community and around the world, who want and deserve a future of abundant life on Planet Earth.
According to globalclimatestrike.net, “Our only hope of achieving the sweeping transformation we need to save our futures is with the power of a mass movement.” Fortunately, the climate justice movement continues to grow and gain momentum, illustrated by the words on a banner at a climate march, “The seas are rising and so are we.”
The Global Climate Strike is one example of young people acting to secure their future by highlighting the fact that we are in a climate emergency. But this can’t be their task alone. They are asking for us to join them in these actions. They are asking for our help.
“Elders need to act like elders,” said McKibben. “If a kid says help, you help.”
In a speech at the 2019 World Economic Forum, Thunberg said, “Adults keep saying we owe it to the young people to give them hope. But I don’t want your hope … I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. And then I want you to act; I want you to act as you would in a crisis. I want you to act as if the house was on fire, because it is.”
In a TED talk, she later clarified: “Yes, we do need hope — of course, we do. But the one thing we need more than hope is action. Once we start to act, hope is everywhere. So instead of looking for hope, look for action. Then, and only then, hope will come.”
Sharon Delgado is a retired United Methodist pastor and author of “Love in a Time of Climate Change: Honoring Creation, Establishing Justice.” She lives outside of Nevada City.
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