From Sept. 20 to 27 students around the world took to the streets, including in Smithers and Hazelton.
Basically they were saying, ‘what have you (meaning adults) done?’ and ‘why won’t you do something about it?’ Organizers of the “global” climate strike estimated approximately four million people in 150 countries participated in the protest, which was billed as a “demand to end the age of fossil fuels.”
At first blush, that seems impressive, but considering there are 7.5 billion people on this planet—11 per cent of whom are struggling just to survive—it represents a fraction of fraction of a per cent.
And if you look at the climate strike map, there is a huge gaping hole which covers most of the continent of Asia, namely China and Russia.
In Western countries, the passion demonstrated by that small percentage of a percentage was impressive, though, and none more so Greta Thunberg’s, the 16-year-old Swede largely credited as the instigator of the movement.
Thunberg famously stood up in the United Nations on Sept. 23 and chastised world leaders for their inaction.
The next day she had similar words for the U.S. Congress, a body so polarized it can barely decide what to have for lunch much less address a complex global issue such as climate change.
In the ongoing Canadian federal election, the only party that has a plan that comes close to doing what the climate strikers want is the Green Party. In launching their campaign, party leader Elizabeth May made the kind of sweeping statement only one who has no hope of forming government can make.
“To Canadians I ask you to consider how much happier you’ll be with your vote when you know you’re voting for a candidate, a party and a leader, who has your back, who earns your trust, who never let’s you down, who never makes a promise we can’t keep.”
If by some miracle they did win, their bold plan, and May’s promise, would almost certainly get watered down by the compromises required for governing in a democracy.
In any event, this is a problem that requires a global and revolutionary culture shift.
What is more instructive than who may be listening to the rising voices of youth is who is not listening.
The governing party in the United States, the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, is not listening. China, the most populace nation on Earth, is not listening. Russia is not listening.
If we sound pessimistic, it is because we are.
We wish we had more than encouragement to offer these kids.
But we don’t.