Oct 10, 2019
The phrases: climate strike, greenhouse gases, and global warming should be familiar with anyone who listens to the news. And now with the help of social media, young people are becoming aware of the science behind how human activity affects the world.
"Mum, can you excuse me from P.E please? I want to take part in the strike,' my daughter told me over the phone a few weeks ago. "Strike?" I thought to myself. Usually a strike at school would be for the teachers to get decent pay, or something like that. I received a text reminder from my daughter later that it was one of the hundreds of thousands of climate strikes by children all over the world. They were taking time out of school to draw attention to their need for a clean, healthy planet. They are too young too vote, or to control politics, or industry, but they have a voice, and they want it to be heard. So, I read about the movement, about Greta Thurnberg from Sweden, and I quickly got up-to-date with this very organized global initiative. "Good for them!" I thought. Our high school is just one school, but if students all over the world are learning the science behind the effects of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide on our planet, then they can, with us adults, take responsibility to reduce these emissions. Do we have to be wasteful, greedy, dumb, or slaves to politics and industry in order to increase wealth? And if wealth is increased, who really gets it? Are there more intelligent ways in which such an intelligent species as humans can live, work, and profit? These are questions that students now have to ask themselves. They also have to look around and see what is being done about the speed of 'heating up' that is taking place, and all the consequences that come from that. Apart from doing all we can to recycle, reduce buying plastics and toxic materials, my daughter and I have decided to read the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report, that is the most recent scientific analysis of this big issue. We have a lot of reading to do! But there is a saying, "Who has mocked the day of small beginnings?" You have to start somewhere, right? Even in a small town, knowledge can lead to action, and that is a big thing.