Today, kids around the world are protesting climate change. They’ve had to endure rising levels of tone-deaf criticism from the so-called adults.
This week, our children have decided to do something. They’ve cast aside school, their homework, or the other prosaic conditions in which we keep them, in order to do something. Ostensibly, they’re trying to reach us, making a statement about the lack of a world we’ll be leaving behind for them. The problem is that we don’t have our listening ears on.
The concept of uppity youth is nothing new. Of course, they were us before we became old, and jaded and bitter, resistant to anyone telling us how to do things. Just as we fought to exit Vietnam, or thrust women out of the kitchen and into equality, the kids are doing something about what matters to them the most. The difference, of course, is that it’s happening to us. We’re the bad guys. What’s worse, they’re much younger than we were when we stood up against the things our parents stood for.
In response, we’ve been childish. One Liberal member asked the kids to strike in their free time. The Daily Telegraph decided to spellcheck their demonstration signs (see below), The Australian spoke on their behalf, worrying that they’re pawns in someone else’s game (*cough* ironic). We even chastised one young lady for proudly castigating the anthem, blaming the parents for allowing her to freely express her obviously incorrect thoughts.
The problem is us. We’ve ignored the overwhelming evidence, we laughed at Malcolm Roberts puzzling Brian Cox and warring with NASA. We’ve routinely dismissed the climate change warnings that have been part of the background since forever, uniformly ignoring the increasingly sweltering summers until they became historically awful this year. We’ve oft-derided the evidence as “leftist whinge”, or the coarseness of the latte-sipping set. We just needed more sunblock, and we need more power plants.
I feel that we’re so eager to criticise them because they echo our own shame. We can’t handle them doing it for us, because we couldn’t do it for ourselves. There’s no other explanation. We fear our progeny, because we fear what we’ve done.
Also on The Big Smoke
- Our kids may protest, but our laws do not protect them
- Our kids in protest: More adult than our politicians
- To save our future climate, we need to act today
- Australia, where the children behave more like adults than the adults do
As the time to reverse things is extremely slim, and I severely doubt we’ll do anything about climate change. I fear those opposed will view today as merely one to survive. We keep taking unison complaint personally and choose to bring fossil fuels to work out of spite, or indeed going to Paris to make promises we had no intention to keep. The problem is not the children, it’s our inability to stand up for ourselves, to take the people we elect to task. We’ve kept the climate as a fringe issue, we’ve kept pushing it to tomorrow. Today, these kids are giving up their educations to teach us, and that should remain the lesson.
As the forever-young David Bowie once wrote, “these children that you spit on as they try and change the world are immune to your consultations. They’re quite aware what they’re going through.”
We’ve had our turn, and we’ve done nothing with it. It’s time for new voices to be heard.
Honoured and very grateful for this nomination ❤️ https://t.co/axO4CAFXcz
— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) 14 March 2019
May they forever remain immune to our consultations.