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For decades now, adult activists and adult environmentalists and adult scientists have been trying to move climate change to the top of the world agenda. But we have met with only limited success. The appetite for aggressive climate policy on the world stage has not even come close to addressing the growing gap between rising greenhouse gas emissions and even the modest emission-reduction targets of the Paris Agreement.

And for decades, adult world leaders and adult politicians have been kicking the climate can further and further down the road. The results of such inaction were predictable. We now have less that 12 years (actually 11 years and counting) to take measures that will keep the warming of our world at less than 1.5°C, the threshold that the IPCC has warned cannot be crossed without suffering hellish climate catastrophes.

But it has taken only six months for Greta Thunberg, a 16-year old Swedish student, to mobilize the world’s student population for a global climate strike that will elevate the climate problem to the crisis status that it is. Student climate strikers have issued an open letter ahead of a global day of action on March 15 that will consist of more than 500 events in over 50 countries. (Editor’s introduction to Common Dreams article)

Student Climate Strikes Going Global On March 15, Below2CFollowing is an article first published in Common Dreams under creative commons licence.

Climate Strikes Going Global

Youth climate leaders from across the globe penned an open letter on Friday condemning the inaction of world leaders in the face of planetary catastrophe and vowing to “make change happen by ourselves.”

“Young people make up more than half of the global population. Our generation grew up with the climate crisis and we will have to deal with it for the rest of our lives. Despite that fact, most of us are not included in the local and global decision-making process,” reads the letter, which was published in the Guardian ahead of a March 15 day of action spanning every continent. “We are the voiceless future of humanity.”

Open Letter

The open letter comes amid a wave of youth demonstrations across the world demanding immediate climate action, many of which have been inspired by the tireless campaigning of 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg.

Over the past several weeks, students in Germany, Australia, Thailand, and other nations have walked out of class to protest their governments’ failure to pursue climate solutions that match the urgency required by the scientific evidence—which says that global carbon emissions must be slashed in half by 2030 to avert planetary disaster.

The school strikes continued on Friday, as Common Dreams reported, with thousands of students marching in Germany, Ireland, and elsewhere. [These numbers are increasing almost daily].

Denouncing the refusal of governments around the world to treat climate change like a genuine existential crisis, the youth leaders declared in their letter, “We can and will stop this madness.”

“We are going to change the fate of humanity, whether you like it or not. United we will rise until we see climate justice. We demand the world’s decision-makers take responsibility and solve this crisis,” the letter continued. “You have failed us in the past. If you continue failing us in the future, we, the young people, will make change happen by ourselves. The youth of this world has started to move and we will not rest again.”

As of this writing, the global youth-led day of action on March 15 will consist of more than 500 events in over 50 countries, with at least 16 taking place throughout the United States.

“For people under 18 in most countries, the only democratic right we have is to demonstrate. We don’t have representation,” Jonas Kampus, a 17-year-old student activist from Switzerland, told the Guardian. “To study for a future that will not exist, that does not make sense.”

Read the youth activists’ full open letter:

We, the young, are deeply concerned about our future. Humanity is currently causing the sixth mass extinction of species and the global climate system is at the brink of a catastrophic crisis. Its devastating impacts are already felt by millions of people around the globe. Yet we are far from reaching the goals of the Paris agreement.

Young people make up more than half of the global population. Our generation grew up with the climate crisis and we will have to deal with it for the rest of our lives. Despite that fact, most of us are not included in the local and global decision-making process. We are the voiceless future of humanity.

We will no longer accept this injustice. We demand justice for all past, current, and future victims of the climate crisis, and so we are rising up. Thousands of us have taken to the streets in the past weeks all around the world. Now we will make our voices heard. On 15 March, we will protest on every continent.

We finally need to treat the climate crisis as a crisis. It is the biggest threat in human history and we will not accept the world’s decision-makers’ inaction that threatens our entire civilization. We will not accept a life in fear and devastation. We have the right to live our dreams and hopes. Climate change is already happening. People did die, are dying, and will die because of it, but we can and will stop this madness.

We, the young, have started to move. We are going to change the fate of humanity, whether you like it or not. United we will rise until we see climate justice. We demand the world’s decision-makers take responsibility and solve this crisis.

You have failed us in the past. If you continue failing us in the future, we, the young people, will make change happen by ourselves. The youth of this world has started to move and we will not rest again.

Could it be that the children of the world will save humanity when we adults could not? ~ Editor for Below2°C

Related articles:
A World Where Leaders Are Childish and Children Are Leaders
We Have A Climate Crisis On This Planet

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. Creative Commons License


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4 COMMENTS

  1. As much as one wants to wish the youth climate leaders every success on their March 15 global climate strike, in a recent essay, Britain’s Tim Watkins, a social and economic scientist with a background in public policy, examines in detail the terrifying predicament youth, and all humanity, face in trying to prevent planetary collapse. Consider, too, that “even the cleverest of adults struggles to understand the full complexity of our predicament.”

    Here’s a small sample of what students will be up against.

    For starters, Watkins declares that “… few of our political leaders are taking their [students] protests seriously.”

    A possible showstopper is that students are at an immediate disadvantage because they are unlikely to understand “the full scope of the human impact crisis that is breaking over us. The phrase ‘Earth System’ refers to the entirety of our planet’s interacting physical, chemical, biological, and human processes. Climate is just one element of this system and if we focus on that alone, we will misunderstand the complexity of the danger.

    In brief, here’s the dilemma humanity faces, and students must understand — To avert collapse, resulting in the deaths of more than six in every seven humans on Earth, every person on the planet would have to immediately stop using fossil fuels. However, if we stop using fossil fuels that supply 85% pf Earth’s power, our oil-dependent economy will collapse, causing a global famine that will kill more than six in every seven humans worldwide.

    Thus, reducing our problem to climate change, then to CO2, and finally to measuring emissions only at the point of energy production is a dramatic misrepresentation of our dilemma. Slowing climate change is crucial but navigating its challenges is only possible if it is understood as just one facet of planetary overshoot.

    Finally, consider the irony of the students’ protest — Their global protest march demands an unwarranted faith in do-nothing governments. “When our school students call upon government to ‘do something’ to address climate change (itself a mere subset of the growing collapse) they [students] must engage in a high degree of denial [themselves] to overlook the fact that the government they are calling upon is made up of rank incompetents.”

    Here’s a Shortlink to Watkins’ essay — https://wp.me/pO0No-4D0

    • Frank – thank you for sharing this work by Watkins. It’s certainly a stark reminder of the likely insurmountable challenge humanity faces. We are so far down this slippery slope that it’s almost impossible to turn back.

      I had not thought of the “irony of the students’ protest. But it’s quite obvious. Calling upon “rank incompetents” to solve a problem guarantees failure. But then who else can they call upon other than the very people elected to protect the public interest?

      As usual, thank you for your comments and the ongoing support.

  2. The patience is ending.
    The decision makers failed in ignorance.
    Youth defends the future according to age.
    The indifferent part of the generation of parents freeze in front of the Klimacrash or repeats prayer-like nonsense.
    Lack of appreciation, authoritarian obedience and myopia are the main causes and motives of the deniers and the accelerators of the climate crisis

    Yes! Especially for informed young people it is difficult to understand that politicians, wolves and sheep are still romping about, who are eagerly denying the climate crisis and do not want to counteract it properly.
    And although, for more than four decades (almost 2 generations!) Scientists, environmental parties and initiatives present the better arguments, analyzes and solutions for climate design.

    Sooner or later, EVERYONE (!) Will be affected by the escalating climate crisis, whether a car fan or not.

    A word to all cynics, droolers, those trolls who do not give a shit about the world peace and the future of our grandchildren.
    And a word to all the erring people who – with the fans of conservative parties and unscrupulous lobbyists – distract responsibility blind from the global climate crisis,
    A word also to those who want to exploit the short-term profit and to the misanthropic nationalists who are against a life-friendly climate:
    They, these trolls, cynics and profit lobbyists, are not (! Really!) granted that in the next, soon to be expected climate extremes, their house floats away, snows, slips, their roof flies away, their favorite brook and forest wither, their fruit trees remain unfertilized , their health suffers of tropical parasites, their holiday destination dries or their insurance rates get priceless, their breathing air gets corrosive, their grandchildren asthmatic or their tap water become poisend.

    But I wish, you have more time for reflection and sincerity.

    Thanks and solidarity to these youth, who are fighting for their future. ❤️❤️🌈🙏🐬

    • Martin – welcome to Below2C.

      I appreciate that you sense the concern of students and youth striking for their future. And I agree that youth sees the world with greater clarity then we give them credit for. It’s black or white. When they do something wrong, parents are generally quite quick to correct them, apply discipline when needed and support them and their dreams for a happy future. But now, their future is uncertain. There is no more time for reflection. There’s only time for action.

      Thank you for your comments.

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