Activist students threatening to boycott schools around the world—to demand action on climate change—have issued an uncompromising open letter stating: “We are going to change the fate of humanity, whether you like it or not.” This is actually the declaration of a worldview—a religious one.
Where did they learn this? In school, of course. “But I thought schools weren’t allowed to teach a religion!” They generally aren’t, unless it’s a green religion. And that’s what this movement is, from the Pope to the zealous young school student in Belgium, or the US.
The letter, published by the Guardian, says:
“United we will rise on 15 March and many times after until we see climate justice [tenet of social justice]. We demand the world’s decision makers take responsibility and solve this crisis. You have failed us in the past. But the youth of this world have started to move and we will not rest again.”
The Youth Strikes for Climate movement is not centrally organised, so keeping track of the fast growing number of strikes is difficult, but many are registering on FridaysForFuture.org. So far, there are almost 500 events listed to take place on 15 March across 51 countries, making it the biggest strike day so far. Students plan to skip school across Western Europe, from the US to Brazil and Chile, and from Australia to Iran, India and Japan.
“For people under 18 in most countries, the only democratic right we have is to demonstrate. We don’t have representation,” said Jonas Kampus, a 17 year old student activist, from near Zurich, Switzerland. “To study for a future that will not exist, that does not make sense.”
The letter says: “We are the voiceless future of humanity ... We will not accept a life in fear and devastation. We have the right to live our dreams and hopes.” Kampus helped initiate the letter, which was created collectively via a global coordination group numbering about 150 students, including the first youth climate striker, Sweden’s Greta Thunberg. One wonders, if they are unwilling to accept a life of fear, why are they animating the narrative of fear in global warming?
The strikes have been supported by Christiana Figueres, the UN’s climate chief when the Paris deal to fight global warming was signed in 2015. She said: “It’s time to heed the deeply moving voice of youth. The Paris Agreement was a step in the right direction, but it’s timely implementation is key.” Michael Liebreich, a clean energy expert, said: “Anyone who thinks [the strikes] will fizzle out any time soon has forgotten what it is to be young.”
You may recallChristiana Figueres, executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, prayed to the the ancient jaguar goddess Lxchel in her opening statement to delegates gathered in Cancun, Mexico, noting that Ixchel was not only goddess of the moon, but also
"the goddess of reason, creativity and weaving. May she inspire you -- because today, you are gathered in Cancun to weave together the elements of a solid response to climate change, using both reason and creativity as your tools.”
So think big, play hooky from school, and exchange true learning for activism. It’s the new social justice way, and it is currently the fastest growing religion in the world. Don’t need a Savior? You can be your own savior, and what could be cooler than that?