The Swedish activist Greta Thunberg together with a group of European teenagers and young people gathered in a student movement of world proportions: the so-called #FridaysForFuture (Friday for the future), is calling for a global strike for this September 20 with the purpose of calling the attention of politicians so that immediate and effective measures are taken to tackle climate change.
They call on the elderly to join the fight against climate change:
Children and youth have joined the concert of voices who, tired of seeing that decision makers do not make real commitments to adopt measures that stop and reverse the processes of climate change, have decided, as true decision makers, to raise the voice of A firm and forceful way to say enough of procrastination, of lukewarmness, of indifference in the face of the serious problems that climate change is causing and that is condemning present and future generations to suffer the consequences of little commitment to face climate change .
This unprecedented proposal for a global strike that includes adults but that arises from youth, from women, from those who have always been invisible, is very hopeful because it shows that citizenship is not acquired with age but with active exercise of the rights.
Young people are telling the elderly that we cannot continue as we have been doing before, because we already see the effects of climate change in different parts of the world and those who suffer the most are vulnerable populations. Dramatic are the images of the melting of the poles and the struggle of animals to search for increasingly scarce food.
It is a message to the conscience of society so that we do not continue to think that the earth is only a basket of resources to be exploited infinitely or is a large deposit of waste that has long exceeded the processing capacity of the earth.
The development model, which many older people defend as the only possible alternative, is the great cause of this civilizational crisis. We continue to think that forests, seas and soils are to be exploited and generated wealth even at the cost of sacrificing people and the environment itself.
In the name of progress, with a false optimistic enthusiasm, we continue to depend on fossil fuels and do not make the necessary efforts to seek alternatives to development more connected with nature.
Young people are telling us enough of indifference, enough of the cheap market policy that makes corruption an institutionalized way of life and that sickly seeks profit and personal benefit to the detriment of the common good and the interests of the great majority .
Young people are telling us enough of theatrical performances about agreements to stop climate change but that they are not in accordance with real life as pressures against nature continue in the name of the market and economic growth.
Young people are making a difference. They are legitimately telling us not to steal their future. That action is now and not when it is too late. That we are invited to join them in this global strike scheduled for September 20. They are telling us that the civilizing model that we have built is not friendly to society or the environment and that it only allows the excessive growth of wealth for a few.
With legitimate indignation, they are telling us that apathy and despair do not continue and that it is time to raise our voices to say a stop to the serious damage that we are causing the planet and the most vulnerable populations. In the end, the impacts of climate change will reach us all and that is why we cannot remain indifferent.
There will always be voices that say that climate change is a story invented by environmentalists or by foundations to obtain economic resources, they will say that climate changes are inherent to the planetary system, they will say that it is the pretext to stop the inexorable march of economic development and they will even speak on behalf of progress for all.
But beyond those voices that, consciously or unconsciously, disqualify activists from facing climate change, we are already seeing and suffering the effects and each time the impacts will be greater and more costly to reverse.
For all these reasons, there is a need to follow this praiseworthy initiative of young people to re-green the hopes and illusions that it is still possible to generate alternative worlds where humans respect each other and humans respect non-humans. This requires a great transformation of thought, feelings, speeches and actions.
The global strike on September 20 could be a good start to a great collective awakening. We are invited to be part of history.
By: Rodrigo Arce Rojas. Center for Humanist Studies New Civilization