Opinion by: Norbu D.
Edited by: Mayako K.
Visual by: Kaye O.
On March 15 2019, an international youth climate strike organized under “Fridays For Future” took place all around the world. One million students from over 100 countries ranging from the United States, India, and Uganda, took to the streets of their cities and cut class to speak up for their future.
This event was inspired by Greta Thunberg, a young 16-year-old, who sat outside the Swedish parliament every Friday since August to demand politicians to do something about the rapidly increasing issue of climate change. She acquired mass publicity which allowed her to convey her passion to do something about the biggest threat to our future. The heroic girl earned a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize and she stated on stage, “We are facing the greatest existential crisis humanity has ever faced. And yet it has been ignored. You who have ignored it know who you are.” Her words called for action and spoke directly to the hearts of others in the international community to unite and utilize their voices.
As impending and urgent the undeniable issue of climate change is, many were quick to argue that the public demonstrations were disrespectful and intrusive. While fighting for a great cause, political figureheads have insisted that the strikes should be stopped due to a large number of students walking out of school during class hours. It is contended that this wastes the time of the teachers and setback the students on their learning. Additionally, the protests take place in open roads which impedes flowing traffic and causes a disturbance in the daily commute of others.
However doesn’t an obstruction in the regular lives of the people have to occur to make the government listen? Clearly, the past has shown that online words of complaint or small suggestions are futile to alter the minds of authority. These peaceful walkouts are staged to be an inconvenience to others so that the government is forced to address it. The Fridays For Future website justifies their actions with two questions, “Why study for a future, which may not be there? Why spend all the effort to become educated, when our government is not listening to the educated?” This response challenged the values of our country leaders and shot down their comments that changed the bigger subject
Understandably, the ministries of each country have many responsibilities and goals to achieve, but their prioritization of these goals are completely wrong. Going beyond just education, what is the point of anything if we do not stop the human impact on environmental damage? Economy, inequality, violence and foreign affairs are incredibly important, however, these things only focus on affecting the structure and systemization of humans on earth. There is no point of trying to organize a world if there will be no world to live in.
“FridaysForFuture.” FridaysForFuture, http://www.fridaysforfuture.org/.
Laville, Sandra, et al. “’It’s Our Time to Rise up’: Youth Climate Strikes Held in 100 Countries.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 15 Mar. 2019, http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/mar/15/its-our-time-to-rise-up-youth-climate-strikes-held-in-100-countries.
Paris, Francesca. “Photos: Youth Climate Change Demonstrations Across The World.” NPR, NPR, 16 Mar. 2019, http://www.npr.org/2019/03/16/704050431/photos-youth-climate-change-demonstrations-across-the-world.