We’ve accepted cliched portraits of nature as an eternally forgiving mother without internalizing humankind’s non negotiable coexistence. Our actions have not spoken to the doom of our provider, rather, make way for the death of a stranger. “The sentinels stand as harbingers of the acute imperative to improve our relationship with each other and our planet or to accept environmental destruction will inevitably decide our fate for us.”
While there is a collective familiarity with the phrase ‘the future belongs to the youth’ I don’t think it has historically been contextualized with climate change and ecological crisis. That maxim normally pairs well with youthful inclinations to dissent in other socio political categories because kids didn’t care about that planet like they do now. Dissent has everything to do with giving a shit despite resistance from powerful forces that be - collectively raising your voice to beat back archaic and oppressive systems serving the few who established them. Who would have thought this opposition would be occupied by grade schoolers. You wouldn’t think the planet’s predicted implosion would polarize America but here we are, following a banner held by 5th graders trying to bash in the obsolete oculuses and other anachronistic devices used to view and implement narcissistic, myopic policy on the country.
The youth understands that climate change is a fact. That saying you believe in it or not is a domestic political debate fueled by miseducation, ignorance, and ego. Marching is a small way to get you to pay attention; it is these ripples that spark the urgency of undoing and doing better. Through the frustration, anxiety, and priority that filled the climate strike there was a small glimpse of hope and determination that caught my eye coming down Broadway amidst a sea of thousands.
A young black male teacher leads a chant loud enough to break through the noise. He is wearing a suit and tie in 90 degree sunny weather walking backwards and sweating profusely to address his class. An all black and brown class of boys and girls respond to his chants with such force it brings me (Jen) to tears. Raising their fists in the air, staring us all in the eyes, this is what democracy looks like. This is the powerful fight for justice that continues to demand better of humanity, a fight with our future on the line. •