People around the world are preparing to mobilize for climate strikes Sept. 20 and 27.
Youth in Haliburton are planning to join the fray and leave their classrooms for the protest. It is not the first time, nor is it likely the last. It is to them I address this piece and say: join the movement, shout all you can and fight for your future – even though you probably won’t see immediate change.
Young people hardly need moralizing from adults like me, even if supportive. Count this as an effort to amplify the message in whatever little way I can.
Climate change is as real a threat as ever. The science on this is settled. There is no debate on this to be had. The younger you are, the longer you stand to suffer because of this. Drastic, radical change is needed. It is incredible to see youth rise for this cause and it is a sight that is terrifying to old power.
Sadly, the world is not ready to fully embrace this movement. At a national level, people running for our federal office have derided this movement and Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old activist who kicked it off. There are people running in Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock who deny climate change or would like to ignore it, idiocy which cannot be tolerated.
Across the world and in Haliburton, there are those who upturn their noses at the protest. They charge parents they have never met with manipulating their children, as if young people have no minds of their own (or as if educating your children about climate change is something abhorrent).
To the youth, I suggest this: ignore them. Ignore those who refuse to heed your voice. Ignore them as you change the world.
But that change can be hard to see. At the end of the day, when you walk away from the protest, the world will likely still be spinning toward climate catastrophe. Gas-powered cars will still line the streets. Business will probably proceed as usual. It may seem like your voice has died in the same air you are defending.
In a world like that, it is all too easy to remain inert. You did not ask for this fight and it is not fair for progressively minded adults to expect it of you. Navigating this world is hard enough as it is. If you choose to stay home, or in class, no one has any right to blame you. It is not your sins which are destroying this Earth.
But I hope you keep fighting.
It will take a mile to gain an inch. The hands of old men grasp too tightly onto the world they have built to suit them. Real change often comes too slowly and is fueled by far too much blood, sweat and tears.
But that world belongs to you. It is your right to reach out and take it from those who wish to destroy it.
I can only ask: fight on. Fight for tomorrow. Fight because change does come, even if beyond a horizon we can see. Fight like lives depend upon it because they do.