It seems the kids are in trouble. They are worried. Some of them are very angry.
We have put devices into their hands where they can find out about the world. Some of them have found the more egregious neighbourhoods of the World Wide Web like: Pornography, Shopping and Social Media. A great many of them have found The Climate Emergency.
The scientific community is convinced that anthropogenic climate change is now indicated with a very high degree of probabilistic certainty. Those scientists and others who do deny it are demonstrably in the pay of corporate and political interests who wish to do so on reasons based on short term self-interest, a sad desire to be contrary (as a way of attracting personal attention) and/or a sociopathic ideology, or their dupes.
In our children’s minds (gleaned from the content of their speeches), the most pressing problems are –
- Those who admit it’s a problem but say it’s none of their (the children’s) business and they should stay at school to learn how to follow in their elder’s footsteps and continue to contribute to the problem.
- Those who admit there is a problem but do nothing about it.
- Those who admit there is a problem and lie or misrepresent what they are doing about it.
- Those who say the problem is all too hard and all too late and do nothing about it.
- Those who admit it’s a problem but are unwilling to radically adjust their personal behaviour or take social-political action to do anything about it.
- Those who say there is no problem.
Looked at it clearly, the above list pretty much covers everyone. So, our kids have good reason to be worried and angry.
A great many of them went out on strike on the last day of last term. The impulse to strike came from them. They were inspired by Greta Thunberg, who has overcome personal disability and a vast social resistance to courageously stand up for the survival of hers and subsequent generations. They took to the streets both in Mallacoota and around the world. They were supported by community members of all ages and classes.
They were calling for our government and opposition parties to declare a Climate Emergency and deploy domestic national policies to deal with it. They were asking our government to recognize that we as a country have responsibility for the effects the hydrocarbon fuels we sell overseas have on the global environment. They were asking that workers and their families whose lives are disrupted by the economic changes we must make are supported in the transition.
Sadly, but predictably, some members of our local community jumped on social media and lambasted the event with potty-mouthed vituperation. I was discussing this the other day and the person with whom I was talking opined that ‘everyone was intitled to an opinion’. That is true enough. However, we are faced with matters of equivalence. If 99% of group are in agreement, that does not mean that the remaining 1% gets equal time to argue their case or that their argument has equal weight.
Our children deserve our praise not our censure for their Action. They deserve our sympathy that they cannot live their children lives untroubled. They deserve our wholehearted support. They also deserve that we all look very closely at our own lives. We must take the necessary steps to adjust our behaviour to reduce the awful future consequences of decades of inaction and denial that have been inflicted upon them.
So, the kids that organised, the kids that participated and the community members who supported – well done! Keep it up!
The level of articulation and self confidence that the children’s speeches, at our march, demonstrated was a credit to them and the teachers who have taught them. This is the generation that will have to fight the hardest battles, we seem to be equipping them for the task if not assisted them in solutions.
Our leaders at all levels of society must be given no rest until our society is on a trajectory to, as much as possible, minimize the effects of the emergency both on our children’s lives, the planetary ecosphere and the countless members of the developing nations (like our children) who will feel the brunt of the disaster but have participated hardly at all in its creation.
WELL DONE KIDS, KEEP IT UP!