“she is cute and had a nice speech but it hasn’t changed anything,”
~ so said some cranky old activist muttering in the corner about Greta being a puppet whilst tens of thousands of young people around the country are prepping signs, writing speeches, bracing themselves for getting out of their comfort zone, organising logistics for rallies, talking political strategy.
The tide is turning and a bunch of people haven’t worked that out yet. They are adults. They can’t help being a little slow.
We say, Get on board or get out of the way. Find your closest strike here
When you have a mainstream TV program advertising your March you doing something right!
Young people have been at the forefront of social movements for decades…. The difference being – not this young, not this informed, and not this many.
You could feel an electricity in the air at the Melbourne rally last November – as thousands of young people poured into the streets, overflowing the designated gathering area and causing the police quite some consternation… as they said “they just keep coming”
The opposition leader of NSW Labor just expressed support for the strikers in the final stages of an election campaign. He’s at least sniffed the wind and worked out which direction its headed. Unions who support workers in fossil fuel industries are on board. MUA – Here to stay! The Australian Education Union is on board, as well as so many others.
Meanwhile young people who are wanting to be involved are being bullied – by schools threatening them with sanctions, school photos and exams are being scheduled to deter attendance at the strikes, teachers who support are being punished, and the school strike website has been censored at multiple schools.
People always complain about youth being disengaged, and now they are – except these adults would prefer JUST NOT LIKE THAT WITH YOUR OWN OPINIONS AND STUFF!
But guess what. They are turning up anyway. In their tens of thousands in Australia, and hundreds of thousands across the world. And adults need to have their backs.
You can check out the strikers ideas for solidarity (and how many awesome unions and other organisations supporting here. Also they have written some principles for supporters. Read them!
Also, please shaddapayaface (#oldpeoplereference) about the fact they should go vegan, or need to join this bicycle club, or write this sign, or say things differently …. And honestly, those in the movement who are pushing them to go for a full electoral inside the tent ALP lobby strategy aren’t helping either. A meeting or two, sure. But encouraging these young people to be used as props by the ALP so they can give out bland-washed regurgitations of their not good enough policy is just silly. The Libs and to a lesser extent, the ALP, have shown they don’t care much about climate for decades, and have been lobbied by countless people OLD ENOUGH TO VOTE. What on earth makes you think they are going to listen to young people?
Keep the pressure up – sure. Have the politicians hear and face them – hell yes…. Diminish all their energy on countless lobbying meetings where politicians patronise them and get them into boring analysis of the internal, soul sucking factional mechanics of the ALP? I can’t think of anything that would suck the life out of their movement more – but maybe that’s me.
They are young people finding their own way, and they want to do it on their terms. So I’m listening.
On top of the principles shared by the young people (we asked the group we are supporting in Perth, and they preferred the term youth or young people to kids) here are some other ideas from us:
THINGS FOR ALLIES TO DO
- Adults… Share the heck out of this in your own networks. There are over 1300 STRIKES WORLDWIDE! Some parents have had mixed feelings about allowing their children to attend. If they see other people being OK with it, it could be helpful. Also, on the day – young people mainly don’t use facebook so make sure you share your experiences on there
- Signal boost their efforts
- Share the awesome news articles from this week
- On the day follow @strikeclimate on twitter and the hashtag #ClimateStrike
- TWEET TWEET and more TWEET – you can never have too much content on twitter. (Check our resource page for how to guides) Talk to young people on the day, ask for quote and stories, get snippets of them on video to share with the world.
- Run livestreams on facebook and periscope (video app for twitter) … the youth are probably all over snapchat and instagram, but get on there too if that’s your thang
- Remind everyone you know to come! Tag them, text them, heck even pick up the telephone. #OldSchool
- If boring media hit pieces (like this embarrassing waffle) come out – write letters to the editor and comment on their facebook page so they keep getting the message they are in the minority.
- Tell the young people THEY ARE AWESOME and you really appreciate them, and don’t be hard on them – they are pole vaulting out of their comfort zone – they might not get everything right every time – but they are learning activism a whole lot younger than the rest of us so lets get behind them.
And on the day tomorrow, sit back and soak it all in for a little while, and feel that little feeling in your stomach… called hope.