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    Shepherd's Avatar
    Supporting Member

    The Climate Kids are Coming
    On March 15, the Climate Kids Are Coming

    A massive, international, youth-led mobilization will demand action on the climate crisis.

    Beware the Ides of March, all you climate wreckers out there. The Climate Kids are coming, in massive and growing numbers, and they are not in the mood to negotiate. They know that you—whether you’re a fossil-fuel executive, a politician who takes fossil-fuel money, or a Fox News hack who recycles fossil-fuel lies—have put their future in grave danger, and they are rising up to take it back.

    On March 15, tens of thousands of high-school and middle-school students in more than 30 countries plan to skip school to demand that politicians treat the global climate crisis as the emergency it is. Shakespeare made the Ides of March famous with his soothsayer’s warning in Julius Caesar, but ancient Romans actually saw it as a day for settling debts. What bigger debt is there than the theft of a livable future? At the March 15 School Strike 4 Climate, young people will call in that debt and, in the United States at least, demand real solutions in the form of the Green New Deal championed by Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

    If you don’t know who Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg is yet, you can think of her as Ocasio-Cortez’s international climate-change counterpart. Like the rock-star progressive representative from New York, Thunberg is a charismatic young woman whose social-media savvy, moral clarity, and undaunted truth-telling have inspired throngs of admirers to take to the streets for a better world and call out the politicians, propagandists, and CEOs who are standing in the way.

    Just as the 29-year-old Ocasio-Cortez torched the right-wing trolls who laughably derided her as “stupid” after she introduced, with Senator Ed Markey, the congressional resolution to create a Green New Deal, so Thunberg, 16, has gained prominence partly from her blistering callouts of global elites. After riding the train for 32 hours to Davos, Switzerland, in January—for the World Economic Forum’s annual gathering to which many billionaires and heads of state arrive in private jets—Thunberg told a panel(which included Gary Cohn, President Trump’s former chief economic adviser) that “some people, some companies, some decision-makers in particular have known exactly what priceless values they have been sacrificing to continue making unimaginable amounts of money.” A pause, and then a final thrust of the knife: “I think many of you here today belong to that group of people.”

    When adults like British Prime Minister Theresa May scolded the strikers for skipping classes, Thunberg replied by urging them to join the protest on March 15—in effect, calling for a general strike for climate action. “If you think that we should be in school instead,” Thunberg said, “then we suggest that you take our place in the streets, striking from your work. Or, better yet, join us, so we can speed up the process.” In Australia, labor unions representing teachers, firefighters, and health workers were a step ahead of Thunberg, declaring in early February that they would support the climate strikes. The National Union of Workers said of the students, “They are inspiring leaders, and we support them in making our political leaders listen.” In the United States, the AFL-CIO didn’t respond to The Nation’s request for comment.

    The grassroots movements now taking charge of the climate fight consist overwhelmingly of teenagers and twentysomethings—people like Ocasio-Cortez and Thunberg. These young fighters are decidedly not your parents’ environmentalists: supplicant, “realistic,” and all too accepting of failure. They are angry about the increasingly dire future that awaits them and clear-eyed about who’s to blame and how to fix it.

    Inspired by the high-school students in Parkland, Florida, who began protesting gun violence after 14 of their fellow classmates and three school staffers were killed on February 14, 2018, Thunberg decided last August to protest the Swedish government’s lackluster response to the climate crisis. With her round, serious face and light-brown hair braided into pigtails, she cut a quixotic figure sitting outside the Swedish Parliament with a handmade sign that said: “School Strike for Climate.” Then a BBC reporter filed a story, which was shared on social media, and before long students as far away as Australia were striking, too. Now the inspiration has come full circle: David Hogg of the Parkland students’ March for Our Lives movement recently asked his 941,000 Twitter followers: “So when are we going to start walking out against climate change in the US? We live on planet Earth too.”

    Continues here
    Last edited by Barry; 03-08-2019 at 08:40 PM.
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