March 15th. The Ides of March, notable to the ancient Romans for settling debts, as a holy day when sheep were sacrificed, and of course, a day to beware, as a seer warned Julius Cesar.
What is this year’s prophecy?
Does it appear in hastags? #FridaysForFuture, #ClimateStrike, #SchoolStrike4Climate, #WhateverItTakes.
Or on twitter? “The youth are rising and they want their future back” wrote a GreenPeace campaigner. Or in the forecasting of 16 year old Greta Thunberg, “I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. And then I want you to act.”
Read all about it, and listen to some very articulate kids, all ages, talk about why they are protesting by skipping school in Playing hooky to save the climate: why students are going on strike, Greta Thunberg’s #FridaysforFuture movement has inspired kids in dozens of countries to demand action on climate change by Umair Irfan of VOX. https://www.vox.com/2019/2/21/18233206/greta-thunberg-student-school-strike-climate-change
I am pleased, thrilled really, that students are transforming into climate activists, organizing with social media, putting skin in the game, so to speak, demonstrating their commitment and facing possible school (and parental?) punishment — spotlighting the urgent need for us to all act now.
I hope to encourage parents of school children to say what Greta’s mom and dad said to her a year ago when she started waving her protest sign in front of the Swedish parliament on Fridays: as your parents we don’t approve of your skipping school to protest, it is illegal, and against school rules, but we won’t stop you. (They, in fact, as a family, have made healthy carbon-free changes in their food, land-use, energy and transportation choices.)
The school strike has been debated in our Drawdown East End meetings, causing near arguments. As of now our Friday workshops at the Rogers Memorial Library in Southampton have ended. But we continue to organize around ways we can use Paul Hawken’s Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming as a framework to promote the most effective, suitable, and economically beneficial opportunities for our communities and our families.
I admit, I’m a bit nervous thinking that the first public thing we do, what we might become known for, is advocating school strikes, rather than our in-the-works mission statement: igniting, inspiring and assisting our communities in taking action on climate change, with its cascading economic, health, and security benefits.
So I asked “shouldn’t we get some parents on board if we’re going to go public and advocate this?” “We can’t wait! The whole point is no one is listening, but they will listen to the kids” came the cry back at me.
I’m thinking of Greta who gave a TED-talk last year recounting when she was 11: she stopped eating, lost weight, sunk into depression, was unable to attend school, after she learned about irreversible global warming and saw nothing being done, only denial. Diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, she now only speaks about critical issues, climate is #1, and in black-and-white terms. Thus “we can’t change the world by playing by the rules, the rules have to be changed.” Could this be a foretelling?
What I love about the discussions we’ve been having at Drawdown East End is they are so positive, impact-driven and can-do. We are learning through Drawdown about the best practices and technologies that are already working to substitute, conserve and even sequester CO2 emissions. The 100 top solutions are offered as an invitation to build, innovate and effect our change to a renewable energy future with cleaner air, better health, more involved communities, and a humming economy.
For Greta and her #SchoolStrike4Climate I’ll be positive and impact-driven, too. I will enthusiastically support #FridaysForFuture. And I will also ask:
- Why not march to change your school into a climate-ready school through culture and curriculum?
- Why not pledge to do something every day, personally, with your family, friends, school, community to reverse global warming?
- Why not petition your school to implement a Drawdown curriculum? drawdown.org
Here are some great resources:
1) Climate Change Connection What Your School Can Do https://climatechangeconnection.org/resources/climate-friendly-schools/what-to-do/
2) The EPA’s What You Can Do at School https://19january2017snapshot.epa.gov/climatechange/what-you-can-do-school_.html
3) UNESCO’s Getting climate-ready: a guide for schools on climate action https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000246740
Maybe you have a resource or best practice you’d like to share?
And, finally, April 4th-23rd. A free, fun, friendly challenge to join — individually, with friends, as a family, as a class, as a school.
The 21-day international Drawdown EcoChallenge is a free competition and educational program focusing on carbon reduction actions we can all take. It starts April 4 and already over 2,000 people on 400+ teams have signed up.
We invite you to join our local team, Drawdown East End.
For more information on Drawdown East End contact: DrawdownEastEnd@gmail.com