Getting angry, then inspired

We wanted to share something that is energizing us and everyone we’ve been interacting with lately.

There is so much to get upset, depressed about these days. It easily becomes overwhelming. As with many of you who care about the planet, we’ve been going in and out of being terribly upset to near withdrawal countless times over the past couple years.

But something wonderful happened to our hearts and minds this past Friday while participating in the Climate Strike march in Santa Barbara.

We went to the center of town where everyone was supposed to assemble. To our disappointment, there were only about 200 people there. And the composition was disappointing as well… mostly composed of the traditional environmental demographic – older white people. We stood around for about 20 minutes when suddenly cheers rang out. A line of young people appeared out of nowhere and began filling the park – kids with flying fish floats and flags at the end of long, flexible poles waving in the sky. Signs, drums, singing. They just kept coming, hundreds of them. Kids of color, kids with disabilities, kids with wonderful smiles.

Climate 8

After a few speeches, the kids directed us south to march through town, toward the Santa Barbara pier, singing, chanting, waving signs.

Climate 1

As you know from Greta’s speech at the UN, these kids are angry, fierce, and motivated. They acknowledge the earth’s future is dim because of the older generation’s failure to act. Our failure. But they also know they have the power to effect change to turn things around so the worst of the worst doesn’t happen. This was a distinction we had missed, and it’s an important one.

The kids know we are screwed, we all are, due to human-caused climate change. But they don’t see that as a reason to give up.

Why? Because they know we can stop carbon emissions enough now to prevent the worst case scenario – the collapse of global civilization. That is their motivator, and they won’t give up until the adults do what is right or they take the reins away from them and do it themselves. They see a real chance to get it right this time, to build a society based not on scarcity, environmental exploitation, and hubris, but one on sustainability, connectedness with Nature, and empathy.

They know there is no other choice. And they know we are running out of time. So while the Novocained crowd of adults sit back in their over-stuffed desk chairs doubting, criticizing, the kids see hope and are helping to shape a society that this time just might allow us to avoid the 250 year cycle of collapse that every civilization has succumb to in the past (always due to hubris and exceeding the environment’s carrying capacity).

The kids are willing to welcome adults into their fold. But they have no patience with those who refuse to look within, recognize their own damaged selves, and address the destructive patterns and personas that have led to the behavior that created the climate crisis we face today.

So when politicians fail to act, old Uncle Fred rejects the Climate Crisis, or random adults ridicule young people for speaking out, the kids are not surprised. These are the adults who caused the mess in the first place. Of course they’re going to defend themselves and fight to preserve their place, their egos. The kids understand that the reactions of these adults are just the last gasps of yet another generation at the fading edge of yet another civilization on its last legs. They want no part of it.

There were over 4 million of them, kids and their supporters, in 161 countries last Friday marching in the streets, demanding change and to help adults recognize that climate change is the primary issue of our time. If climate change is not addressed, nothing else really matters.

Below are links to help you join the kids. They will inspire and transform your heart.

They can help you turn your anger into positive change.

What propelled a young man named Eske to take action.

Xiuhtezcatl Martinez explains what needs to happen, why, and the role adults should play (he started protesting when he was 6).

Greta Thunberg’s full 4 minute speech to the United Nations.

Earth Guardians, the lead youth organization inspiring and training environmental youth leaders across the world.

To plan a Strike or report one you’ve been in.

A remarkable video about climate change and what you can do. The video is near the end of this page, right above Doyle’s poem.  Please listen to the whole thing. It’s 40 minutes long. DO NOT stop half way because it gets too depressing. By the end you’ll be inspired.

For a rich source of research/podcasts/videos about living within the Earth’s carrying capacity.

Scientists Warning letter on the Climate Crisis.

Climate 7b

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