Children Pushing for Change – Climate Inaction

Are we so far up shit creek that our children must lead the way to societal change or should we pat ourselves on the back for impactful and influential teachings?

Photo Credit: The New York Times

As real as it might seem, the political debris doesn’t actually hold us accountable for social and environmental inactivity, yet I wouldn’t go as far as to consider us a derelict society. A stance is taking place and adults could quite possibly be the ones who encouraged it. So, pass me the paddle cause we’re sailing back down that creek.

Our political landscape is flooded with ever-increasing threats and it’s understandable why exceeding amounts of students not only want to take a stand but feel a need to raise awareness of this frightening climate.

Standing up as a solo activist can be daunting though. Children struggle to be taken seriously and their efforts to put a spotlight on problems seem only fortuitous as an individual and a youth – aside from the rarities of children like Malala Yousafzai and Melati and Isabel Wijsen. But forlorn attempts at making a change are in the past as together, masses of school aged children worldwide are making a difference through global protest rallies.

Belgium school students strike – UK strike goes global – Photo Credit: The Ecologist

On February 15 school students in the UK, and across the globe, went on strike protesting the deficiency of climate change action. Skipping school for the event, students also encouraged adults to join them and walk out in a show of solidarity.

Australia’s school climate strike is set for March 15 and with rallies nationwide and an open invitation, it’s expected to be much bigger than the 15 000 students who protested last year. The strike will coincide with rallies in up to 40 other countries world-wide. The inspiration for the event came from now 16-year-old Greta Thunberg who staged a solo protest last year in her home of Stockholm, Sweden.

Greta Thunberg – Photo Credit: THE NEWYORKER

The strike isn’t the only activist trail left recently as over 300 academics showed their support of the students by signing an open letter in a stand against a ban on gas mining and Adani’s Carmichael mine.

John Muir High School in Pasadena was also host to a student walkout last Wednesday protesting the prohibition of wearing durags. Principal Lawton Gray said, “It does not have to do with gang affiliation. It has to do with the values we have for how we present ourselves at school”, in response to students concerns. Senior Reggie Myles of the Black Student Union said, “The main reason we protest today is because we’re trying to stop the criminalisation of black men on campus”.

The shelves aren’t even free from the politicised wager of the modern child. Are we no longer in a time where teddy bear books and nursery rhymes are acceptable for toddlers when A is for Activist and The Youngest Marcher are replacing classic literature?

INNOSANTO NAGARA – Photo Credit: A is for Activist

Words are preaching to the children at such young ages and all is well and good for the mean time; bravo, I do salute the messages of equality, the understanding of poverty and other world issues but when the borderline political engagement is being exhibited for children, can it be a good thing or is it too much? When children are raised with sociological knowledge and the ability to identify mistreatment, they’re sure to grow up feeling a responsibility to contribute to fixing society’s shared problems. CNN discusses this issue and describes how it could also lead to a sense of self-righteousness.

Have a look through this list of young activists and decipher for yourself whether society has impacted this age of child activism or if children have seen enough and decided to make a change of their own.

Melati and Isabel Wijsen

Melati and Isabel Wijsen. Photo Credit: Prestige Online

Kelvin Doe

Kelvin Doe – Photo Credit: Interesting Engineering

Malala Yousafzai

Malala Yousafzai. Photo Credit: CBS News

Why don’t we start listening to the voice of tomorrow, today? We would love to know what you think about this in the comments.