The New Leaders on Climate Change

The next generation has been waiting, watching, listening… and getting frustrated about the lack of action on climate change by governments around the world. Now they’re taking the lead.

Youth climate change march

More Kudos to the Kids

Tomorrow is a big day for the planet.

The kids are stepping out and speaking out once again. They’re demanding action on global warming and climate change. They’re sick and tired of waiting around for my generation and the one before it to do all the things that should’ve long since been done.

Before today, they’ve filed a lawsuit against the government of the United State of America. They’ve walked out of school to protest inaction by governments around the world. And tomorrow, March 15, they’re walking out again, but in a more organized fashion.

This time it’s being billed by some as a “coming out party” for the international Youth Climate Strike, a movement that started with a 15-year-old girl who’s had enough.

I’ve written about the lawsuit before, giving the kids behind it a shout-out. Today, once again, I say…

Kudos to the Kids!

The youth of the United States and the world have been gathering steam for several years now, beginning even before 21 of them filed suit against the U.S. government for not acting on what it knew about global warming and its effects.

That was in 2015.

At first, government lawyers laughed it off.

Since then, the U.S. Supreme Court has dismissed two government motions to delay or dismiss the case.

The lawyers aren’t laughing anymore.

The suit, known as Juliana vs. United States, doesn’t mince words. The introduction begins this way –

“For over fifty years, the United States of America has known that carbon dioxide (“CO2”) pollution from burning fossil fuels was causing global warming and dangerous climate change, and that continuing to burn fossil fuels would destabilize the climate system on which present and future generations of our nation depend for their wellbeing and survival.”

On March 3, “60 Minutes” featured the lawsuit and the plaintiffs. It’s worth watching.

Bottom line: These kids are serious, and as their lawsuit continues to move through the courts and numerous complex legal wranglings, they continue to pick up supporters.

They aren’t going away.

Climate Change Lightning Rod

image of Greta Thunberg, climate change activist from SwedenThen there’s Greta Thunberg. If you haven’t heard of her yet, here she is. You probably have, though; she’s gone viral.

Thunberg is a 16-year-old Swedish climate activist who has been skipping school every Friday for months, going instead to sit in front of the Swedish parliament building to protest her government’s lack of action on climate change.

She also spoke to global leaders at the World Economic Forum, and in January at the COP24 United Nations Climate Change Conference, while the Trump administration was trying to sell the world on “clean coal,” Thunberg “…delivered a damning speech… telling climate negotiators they weren’t ‘mature enough to tell it like it is.’”

Today came the announcement that she’s been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for her work.

Way to go, Greta! You deserve to win!

(tough break, donnie)

Youth Climate Strike

In February, thousands of students around the world emulated Thunberg by walking out of school to protest climate change inaction. And the movement continues to pick up strength.

Tomorrow students from around the world will kick it up another notch by once again walking out of school in solidarity with Thunberg to protest inaction, or adverse actions, by their governments regarding global warming and climate change.

To see for yourself, check out these hashtags:

    • #FridaysForFuture
    • #SchoolStrike4Climate

Many of them will be in the United States, including members of what’s called the “Youth Climate Strike.”

Once again, the kids are taking the lead. (@YouthvGov)

Here’s the group’s mission, as stated on its website:

“We, the youth of America, are striking because decades of inaction has left us with just 11 years to change the trajectory of the worst effects of climate change, according to the Oct 2018 UN IPCC Report. We are striking because our world leaders have yet to acknowledge, prioritize, or properly address our climate crisis. We are striking because marginalized communities across our nation — especially communities of color, disabled communities, and low- income communities —  are already disproportionately impacted by climate change. We are striking because if the social order is disrupted by our refusal to attend school, then the system is forced to face the climate crisis and enact change. With our futures at stake, we call for radical legislative action to combat climate change and its countless detrimental effects on the American people. We are striking for the Green New Deal, for a fair and just transition to a 100% renewable economy, and for ending the creation of additional fossil fuel infrastructure. Additionally, we believe the climate crisis should be declared a national emergency because we are running out of time.”

This clear, concise statement captures the problem perfectly. Now, if only the rest of us would listen. And take action.

Climate Change Demands

Here are the demands of the Youth Climate Strike:

    • A halt in any and all fossil fuel infrastructure projects
    • Declaring a National Emergency on Climate Change
    • Compulsory comprehensive education on climate change and its impacts throughout grades K-8
    • Preserving our public lands and wildlife
    • Keeping our water supply clean

The group lists solutions, too. It’s definitely not all words. Excellent.

I’m With Them

So here I am, 50 years old, totally aligned with people 20, 30 and 40 years younger.

It’s painful to think that my generation, with all the information it’s had about global warming and its dangerous effects, has done so little to address the problem. In fact, my generation has exacerbated the problem.

The generation before mine wasn’t much better, but the Baby Boomers didn’t have the information we’ve had.

Fact is, we’re all culpable.

Except the kids.

They’ve been waiting, watching, listening… and getting frustrated. All they want is a healthy planet that will sustain their lives and the lives of their children, clean air to breathe, enough food to eat… You know, all that “radical” “socialistic” stuff climate deniers keep crowing about.

It’s sad that a bunch of kids have to take the so-called “adults” by the hands and show us the way, but this middle-aged activist is thankful we have them.

In some ways, calling them the “new leaders on climate change,” as I’ve done in my headline, is bestowing a dubious honor given what little leadership there’s been on climate change up to this point. That’s relatively speaking – James Hanson, Al Gore and other climate leaders have been amazing, but it’s been too few trying to educate too many for too long.

Dubious honor or not, the youth have taken up the mantle. Keep your eye on them, all of them. They’re doing great things. They’ll accomplish great things. Perhaps starting with opening the floodgates to a new watershed moment in the climate crisis response.

Way to go, kids. Keep leading the way and creating even bigger days for the planet. I’m right behind you.

Personal logo of Martin C. Fredricks IV

 

 

© Martin C. Fredricks IV, 2019

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Author: Martin C. Fredricks IV

Martin C. “Red” Fredricks IV here. I’m husband to an amazing woman who is also my best friend, dad to three outstanding kids, proud Fargoan (North Dakota, that is), veteran messaging strategist/copywriter, blogger and big-time reader. (If you're gonna write good stuff, you have to read good stuff.) A ginger, too (ergo the "Red"). At age 50 I'm a newbie to tattoos - I have three now - but the kind artists at the parlor tell me it's never too late. I like hanging out with my best friend, who also happens to be my wife, watching the kids in their academic and athletic activities, writing, hiking and riding my mountain bike.

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