It seems the kids are in trouble. They are worried. Some of them are very angry.
We have put devices into their hands on which 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 broadly 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 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 that 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.
“Right here, right now is where we draw the line. The world is waking up. And change is coming, whether you like it or not.”
Greta threw down the gauntlet at her recent speech at the UN. Certainly, one of the most powerful speeches delivered by a sub-adult ever. It is very comprehensive and concise. If you haven’t read the whole text, I commend it to you.
or you can watch it –
Sadly, the speech will probably go down in history as the speech that everyone has heard about, but few have heard or read all the way through.
What is this line of which she speaks?
Let’s have look. Mostly it is a line of equivalency.
Let’s look first at the responsible media. They are in themselves an endangered species thanks to cowardly/corrupt governments failure to pass and/or enforce media ownership laws.
The line for responsible media is primarily very simple. Stop giving equal time to denialists. The equation is simple – the vast majority of reputable scientific evidence puts human activity centre stage in the Climate Emergency. Denialists either make up stuff, incompletely quote scientific sources out of context or quote each other. So, giving them equal time is equivalent to giving ‘The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster ‘
equivalency with The Roman Catholic Church. The denialists operate out of rightwing think tanks funded by fossil fuel industries, Fundamentalist Christians or Free-Market Fundamentalists. There are also the denialists who are so comfortable in their own self-interest that they prefer to be wilfully ignorant rather than take notice or action. The denialists also come from the ranks of the psychologically sad who feel compelled to be contrarians in order to boost their own sense of inadequacy. There is at least one within our own small community.
If publications still feel compelled to publish their stuff, they should at least fact check them.
I was discussing the Children’s Strike with someone the other day, they commented that the children were, in some way, wrong to go on strike because they wanted new toys and mobile phones.
Here we have the equivalency line again, this time between children and adults. Here we have worldwide corporations, national governments and media organizations obfuscating, lying and engaging in corrupt practise in ways that are obvious even to small children. These children, after being subjected to relentless unmediated consumer advertising bombardment, are being criticized for responding and for being children.
As if a child’s desire for a Barbie Doll is equivalent to –
- a governments approval for mining of and international sale of millions of tons of fossil fuels.
- an agrarian industry that contributes millions of tonnes of green house gases to the environment.
- the structure of our local economy that depends on tourists burning around 500,000 litres of petrol a year to holiday here.
These are the children that have been told to be children and not to strike. They have been told that if they do strike, they will become unemployable, dole bludging bums. These are the children who see the adults around them doing little or nothing in the face of Climate Emergency. These are the children that fear for their future.
I was fortunate to be born in a time and place where everyone told us to dream big; I could become whatever I wanted to. I could live wherever I wanted to. People like me had everything we needed and more. Things our grandparents could not even dream of. We had everything we could ever wish for and yet now we may have nothing.
Now we probably don’t even have a future anymore.
The most difficult line is the one we are all confronted with every day. How much of our time, inconvenience and resources are we willing to devote to trying to help remediate our Climate Emergency?
For those who see the line, what to do?
A question – if you come home from work and your house is burning down with your children inside, would you ignore it because you really want to go out in your boat?
It’s only through action that we can make a difference. Forget sustainability, that is a rich person’s fantasy. ‘Sustainability’ implies we can find ways to do what we have always done by applying new technologies and processes. This is delusional.
Forget offsets – if the carbon is going into the air from running your aircon 24/7 it doesn’t matter how many plastic bags you don’t use.
Remember ‘convenience’ is almost always bad for the environment and threatening of our children’s future.
Be proactive. It is next to impossible to entirely eliminate plastic or the burning of fossil fuels from our domestic economy. However, there are some steps we can take. Here are a few examples. Increasing amounts of fresh food is coming into the supermarkets wrapped in plastic. Don’t buy them. If you do that they will stop selling them. A significant reduction of creature-based products in your diet will certainly help. Avoid leisure activities that add to the carbon burden.
There is a line also between private and public action. Only major organization both political and commercial can make large-scale substantive differences in support of our children’s future. It is up to us to make them act. If you care, it is time to come-out. What you can do is unrelentingly get on the email, write letters, make phone calls, demonstrate, talk to your friends, support your children. The hardest thing of all is to call out the deniers, trolls, bullies and abusers. They are confusing the issue, making our community less safe and more people reluctant to speak their minds. You have to be brave and of tough stuff to do this. Many of our local social media sites are dominated by a handful of toxic trolls. Do not engage with them online, it is a waste of time, just fuels their sad sense of self-importance and leaves you feeling bad. A less confrontational way of dealing with these people is to pressure the administrators of the sites to actively moderate their sites.
Please note that the notices I put up about our meeting at The Gazebo were all torn down. This is freedom of expression?
Make it clear where you stand. Badges, bumper stickers and signage are a way to help create an environment for change. Join and financially support activist organizations. I recommend
The Bob Brown Foundation –
Become more informed about the Climate Emergency.
“Is my microphone on? Can you hear me?”
HERE ARE SOME PEOPLE TO CONTACT
One email is not enough. You need to pepper them relentlessly. Send – articles supporting your position, news of actions and events and exhortations for them to publicly declare their support for action.
- TIM BULL MLA (State) email@example.com
- DARREN CHESTER MP Darren Chester does not publish his email address. PO Box 486
Sale, VIC, 3853
- EAST GIPPSLAND SHIRE
ANTHONY BASFORD CEO
CR NATALIE O’CONNOLL – MAYOR firstname.lastname@example.org
- Write and express your concern to our local papers
Very importantly – SUPPORT YOUR CHILDREN. Encourage them to be active at school and in the community.
As Carl Sagan said – “If you want to make an apple pie from scratch – you first have to invent the universe.” We must reinvent our world if our children are to have a future.
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