Why This Dad is Supporting the Youth Climate Strike. (Aka The Kids Are Alright.)
Today we use 100 million barrels of oil every single day. There are no politics to change that, there are no rules to keep that oil in the ground… we can’t save the world by playing by the rules, because the rules have to be changed. Everything needs to be changed. And it has to start today.’ Greta Thunberg, Student, 16
Would you give up flying to save the climate? What about eating meat? Or driving? What about one day of school?
The IPCC, the world’s top climate science body, says we have 12 years to change our society and our economy into one that is reducing its carbon emissions in line with what the science demands. And that the sooner and more rapidly we act the less severe the consequences will be.
And they could be very severe indeed.
Collapsing ecosystems won’t just deprive our children of the chance to see coral reefs and rainforests – they might deprive them of secure jobs and reliable food supplies. And many of them know this – they know that our reluctance to be honest about climate change and adopt the policies needed to change the system, while continuing to drill for oil and build new roads and runways, will leave them with a future that is much poorer than it should be.
Today, students from over 40 schools in the UK will add their voices to the tens of thousands of other children around the world who have joined the strike for climate, taking themselves out of school to protest the absolute failure of governments and corporations to get anywhere near the level of action necessary to prevent catastrophic climate change. We need, as Greta Thunberg has said, to play by a different playbook, and to change the rules.
As a father of two children in school, I find this difficult to argue with. The fact is their future does look much poorer if we don’t take up the challenge the school strike is posing to us all, and treat climate change as the emergency it is. We need to invest, now, in those cutting edge technologies that can rapidly replace polluting energy with clean power. We need to help people get out of dirty fossil-fuelled vehicles, into electric cars and onto affordable public transport. We need to stop exploring for oil we know can never be burned.
To me, the students’ clarity, bravery and courage in helping sound the alarm on climate is to be celebrated. Let’s hope it helps the rest of us to get moving.
Pat Venditti is Programme Director at Greenpeace UK.