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Children of the Revolution: Why the next generation feels the planet is unsafe in our hands

Children of the Revolution: Why the next generation feels the planet is unsafe in our hands

Politics is cyclic. History advises us that a stretch of stable, middle-ground government gives way to an era of discontent and unrest. From a status quo of sociopolitical com­promise and less dominant leadership comes the emergence of more extreme factions and outsiders from both the far left and right, creating a wider and more divided political landscape. It all makes for a bumpy ride.

Environment
By Uma Jacklin

Sunday 14 July 2019, 10:00AM


From a status quo of sociopolitical com­promise and less dominant leadership comes the emergence of more extreme factions and outsiders from both the far left and right, creating a wider and more divided political landscape. It all makes for a bumpy ride.

In uncertain times unusual candidates, often from outside the establishment, suddenly find themselves centre stage. Political upsets are the norm. From Trump to Volodymyr Zelensky, the new Ukrainian president, they have common ground in that they are both unorthodox characters and comedians of a sort.

It could all be viewed as a rather amusing political farce if the potential outcomes weren’t so serious. And it seems that today’s youth certainly don’t see the fun­ny side. In particular with many leading politicians’ continued ignorance on climate change issues and withdrawal from international agreements on the self-serving basis of maintaining strong industrial growth. It’s all rather short-sighted from younger eyes.

Whilst adults seem tired and disillusioned with the whole debacle, it appears that it’s time for the younger generation to take up arms against the lethargy of our parents. After all, we’re the ones who will inherit the mess.

On March 15, an estimated 1.4 million students in 112 countries, including Thailand, protested through their streets on climate change. I also took a stand in the UK against the ecologically-sluggish dinosaurs.

The School Strike for Climate is an international movement powered by the younger generation, which involves skipping lessons on Fridays to pro­test peacefully in their local town. I originally found out about this movement by a teacher at school who whispered a single name: Greta Thunberg.

After looking up this name, I discovered a story that intrigued me massively. Greta Thunberg is a 16-year-old climate activist with Asper­ger’s, a disorder on the autistic spec­trum. She inspired thousands of young people and adults by sitting outside Swedish parliament every Friday with a sign that read ‘Skol­strejk För Klimatet’ or ‘School Strike For Climate’. This caused a worldwide move­ment which can now also be known as ‘Fridays for Future’ and ‘Youth Strike for Climate’.

I think this movement is urgently needed. The crisis point for our planet was many years ago. We now have only 12 years left before we set off an irre­versible chain reaction beyond human control in which this earth and every­thing on it will perish.

We have procrastinated about this issue for long enough. We have no choice but to reduce our emissions now or regret not making a critical change in the years to come. We made a mistake by not acting sooner. But we still have a small chance. If we start to jump high enough now we can take the opportunity. But it has to be right now. Otherwise our beautiful, beauti­ful planet will slip away from us. All because politicians and people in power deny that this issue even exists or that it costs too much money. That is a very dangerous lie. It will mean the end of our planet if these people cannot be honest with us.

And this is why I decided to miss school on May 24 and June 21 to attend my local strike. And I will continue to do so.

At least younger people are mak­ing an effort, playing their part. Young people shouldn’t have to lead us on this issue. It is the most present and im­portant issue of our generation. Adults need to stop acting like children. As a result, children have started acting like adults. There is no time for materi­alistic people who only care about their own lives and their own fortune. We were given compassion and kindness for a reason. Let’s start now. No one is too small to make a difference.

The school strike involves walk­ing with placards on a planned route around the city or town, with speeches from local politicians and activists. It is a simple procedure really, but such an amazing thing to do. When I went the first time, I was honestly amazed and shocked to be surrounded by so many people just like me, people who cared so strongly about something I did and people who mirrored my thoughts in every way.

I am generally an introverted and shy person; however, the march was the first time I felt like I came out of my shell. I never thought I’d be able to shout chants and parade around streets in the way that I did. It felt rebellious but in a good way. Instead of spray painting walls or breaking the law, we have to repair the house we have broken.

It was one of the rare times I felt connected to everyone around me, even if I didn’t know their names. We were connected by a common interest that fuelled us, and I would encourage everyone to feel this truly incredible experience. To be a little rebellious and to do something that you will remem­ber fondly and proudly.

I hope we can replace our procras­tination with determination. No one likes change. But we are changing. Our earth is changing. We have to stop hanging onto the past and change with it. Do it for the tiny insect you saved in nursery when other kids tried to kill it. Do it for the people who you want to look proudly upon you. Do it for every living thing on this planet, as we are destroying their home. We owe this planet a very large debt. And the time has come to pay it off.

UN Secretary General António Gu­terres has endorsed the school strikes, admitting that, “My generation has failed to respond properly to the dra­matic challenge of climate change. This is deeply felt by young people. No won­der they are angry.”

The science behind climate change was done… and only denial, ignorance and inaction remain.

So young adults are doing it for themselves. The game must change. As Greta Thunberg advised, “We can’t change the world by playing by the rules, because the rules have to be changed”.

Uma Jacklin is the 15-year-old daugh­ter of regular columnist David Jacklin. Uma stepped up to provide this very appropriate ar­ticle to explain how young people today feel about climate change and their thoughts on the critical issue.

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