Greta Thunberg, And Those Parkland Florida kids, Speak For Our Future

Kids began Never Again, then March for our lives, and Strike for Climate, now they may get all of us to march for Life itself

Creating a better climate for change, Christyl Rivers

Swedish teen Greta Thunberg, who began the Friday school strikes that would avalanche into a worldwide movement to address the climate crisis, recently remarked that it was the Parkland Florida shooting survivor students that inspired her.

Greta took off every Friday afternoon and took up her hand made sign. Others soon followed. School walk-outs seem charming and quaint to some. But they are serious and influential.

We won’t all walk a mile in their world

The young among us are not so jaded. The young among us are not so cynical. The young among us are not so tired. When you have watched the whole world burn out for decades, you begin to feel the burn out, too.

I was already quite inspired by the girl. It is inspiring enough that she felt that just one person could make a difference. It is inspiring that she overcame depression and anxiety — or treated it to be more accurate — by taking such action. It is inspiring that she doesn’t let her self-acknowledgment of being on the Autism spectrum stop her.

Greta Thunberg is a girl. I am not using the term incorrectly here, saying girls when I mean women. I mean these are females under the age of eighteen. Being a girl in and of itself is difficult. Being a teenage girl is doubly difficult. Nevertheless, most of the largest climate actions have been instigated by girls.

Greta, and others, notably Anna Taylor, Ivi Hohmann started their own strike. In Australia, Harriet O’Shea Carre, and Milou Albrecht followed inspiration to action. And there are now hundreds, thousands, even millions more.

This is what creates the possibility of a future for our world

It is inspiring that despite feeling “shy” as Greta describes herself, and unaccustomed to the public spotlight, she has appeared before vast crowds, heads of state, and even powerful enemies in the very stressful fight for progress against climate catastrophe.

America, Great Again! Despite everything you see

Greta, and the other school children, are making a difference.

But nothing has been quite so impressive to me about Greta than learning she took a cue from American kids. And that means America still has the power to inspire!

There are lots of angry arguments about whether people should have guns and gun rights. And there are just as many powerful facts that reveal whatever rights we have come at a price.

The disposable, disconnected relationship that we have created with Nature is the same. We can continue to pollute and to consume, but that comes at a price most of us are not willing to pay.

Many of us marched in the People’s Climate March in 2014. Some progress, no doubt, was made. If nothing else, we were all on the cover of the New York Times.

And then, the whole nation slipped into a hell-broth mockery of humanity we called the 2016 election.

For years after the People’s Climate March, no public policy in the United States of America significantly addressed the growing crisis. More cities were flooded. More wildfires raged. More storms menaced communities. More animals went extinct. More plastic poured into our oceans. More chemicals, pollution, and poison crept not only into our air, water, soil, but also into our food. More conflicts, and more desperation abroad ensured more refugees coming every day.

But something even worse happened. Corruption and toxic politics continued to leak into policy and government. School shootings, and daily gun murders, became commonplace. Hard won victories for women and LGBTQ people were steadily eroded. Black and brown people and immigrants became scapegoats and martyrs for our continual sins. Even a foreign nation corrupting our election process became the new normal.

All of this, and yet, those Parkland kids from Margery Stoneman Douglas High School stepped up. Whatever your views on gun control, you must admit they made a difference.

Murder will likely continue to happen in the USA. People will continue to fight about it. But doing something, taking action, using civil disobedience and freedom still means something.

Maybe our nation won’t see the sense of gun sanity, but maybe through Greta, and millions like her, the Florida kids, and millions to follow will see a cleaner world anyway.

Ecopsychologist, Writer, Farmer, Defender of reality, and Cat Castle Custodian.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store