The Climate Change Protest: Is This the Tipping Point?
History is full of examples of teenagers and young adults pushing for social change … and succeeding. The American Civil Rights movements and Vietnam war protests in the 1960’s. The Soweto uprising against the Apartheid regime in South Africa in the 1970’s. Tiananmen Square in the late 1980’s where Chinese students rallied for a democratic country. These are only 4 examples of times where the youth showed that their voices mattered, that a free and fair future was in the best interests of the countries they lived in, that they are are not willing to sit back and let the decisions of their leaders stifle their future.
Last year in August, Greta Thunberg, a 16 year old from Sweden stood outside the swedish parliament and accused lawmakers of failing to uphold their commitments to fight climate change as agreed under the Paris Climate Accord. Her actions landed her a spot on the podium at climate negotiations in Poland (see her full speech here) and later in Switzerland where she confronted world leaders, “You say you love your children above all else, and yet you are stealing their future in front of their very eyes.”
Her bravery and drive has inspired the youth all over the world to take action. It has sparked social media through various hashtags (#SchoolStrike4Climate #ClimateStrike #Youth4Climate #YouthUnstoppable #FridaysForFuture) and has rallied a global movement. That movement has reached a climax today, where hundreds of thousands of the planets youth will step out of their classrooms today to strike against, what Amnesty International calls, “one of the greatest intergenerational human rights violations in history.”
Will today be the tipping point in our fight against climate change? Will today be the day that current leaders stop denying the extensive body of empirical evidence that supports the existence of a changing climate? Will today be the day that these leaders start acting in the best interests of this planets future? Will the youth of this planet succeed? Or will today be shuffled into the pages of history as yet another time the youth stood up … and were ignored.
Only time (time that the planet does not have) will tell.