It began with 16 year old Greta Thunberg skipping school weekly to sit in outside the Swedish Parliament. Months later, thousands of students across the European continent and Australia have began to stage walkouts from their schools to protest against their governments’ lack of action against climate change. As moral and legal issues around the protests continue, so does the movement.
Source - (Evening Standard)
Truancy from children has always been seen as a sign of trouble – drugs, delinquency, and wild trips, a headache for parents, teachers and society. But the Generation Z believes in doing things differently, and it has begun to show its mark on the global political fabric.
Many have been dismissive and wary of the movement from the start, when the initial protests in Netherlands and Belgium saw a massive outpour of children of all ages waving banners and slogans. Politicians and social authorities alike have been on various ends of criticism, the most sharp and conservative following the lines of ‘why can’t children simply focus on schools? Why get into issues that don’t concern them, and importantly, why use their school time?’ Some have gone as far to suggest that this is just a way of getting off from school. In Belgium, a minister for environment was forced to resign following outcry at her suggestion that the students were being externally mobilized.
Greta Thunberg, the teen who inspired the movement (via Affinity Magazine)
The problem can be clearly seen, and it is not the children skipping school. The mere fact that the issue is being discussed as one of discipline shows what a poor perspective to the issue is being taken. Despite what policymakers across the world believe, children do not take pleasure in collectively skipping school every week. One can only imagine the amount of soul-searching, research, and concern one has to engage with in order to protest in a way like this, where two central authority figures of one’s life – parents and schools – can easily take actions against them. Instead of focusing on the children and their school skipping, it might be worthwhile to look into the issue that they are protesting.
An Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change special report indicates that the critical 1.5 degree global warming limit has become all the more harder to achieve. The only possible way in which it can happen is if net-zero carbon emissions are achieved by 2050, which in turn means that the world would have to cut 45% of its carbon emissions by 2030, that is, within two decades. The consequences of breaching this 1.5 degree Celsius are close to apocalyptic – rising sea levels, record high temperatures, extreme weathers, and inhabitability of major cities. In fact, everything that we are facing right now, but on a much larger, more intense scale.
Source - (Quotefancy)
Children are often taught that decision making and politics should be left to the adults. But, the adults who are today making brash decisions about the environment for the sake of ‘economic development’ may well be long gone by the time the consequences roll around, leaving these very children and their progenies to face these. Children rising up to protest is not them not understanding what it is all about. It is them understanding, being concerned, and deciding to do something than wait for the world to die a slow death.