C: Greta Thunberg

As many people have started their Christmas break, young climate activists are continuing to strike for the climate.

The young Swedish activist, who is making global waves with her activism, Greta Thunberg, is on strike again today.

As she tweeted last night: “Tomorrow is #FridaysForFuture and the #ClimateStrike continues. In Stockholm we will have a holiday special strike!! Wherever you are – join us! Everyone is welcome! Find your local strike here – or register your own. https://fridaysforfuture.org

Greta’s ongoing protest has inspired and emboldened thousands of activists from Australia to Africa to take action. Even this week, we have young people taking action in Dublin, Ethiopia, Switzerland, Germany, amongst others. All inspired by Greta.

The need to act has never been greater. As the Guardian newspaper depicts today extreme weather events, such as floods, heatwaves, hurricanes and wildfires, globally this year have killed an estimated 5000 people and affected just under 30 million people.

Any rational person reading the climate science would act immediately. But the speed of action is much slower than the science demands. And has been for decades. Earlier this month at the UN climate conference in Poland, Greta addressed the plenary session. Her short speech packed a hard punch at global leaders for their collective failure to act decisively.

To quote her nearly in full:

“I’ve learned that you are never too small to make a difference and if a few children can get headlines all over the world just by not going to school then imagine what we could all do together if we really wanted to.”

“But to do that we have to speak clearly. No matter how uncomfortable that may be. You only speak of a green eternal economic growth because you are too scared of being unpopular. You only talk about moving forward with the same bad ideas that got us into this mess. Even when the only sensible thing to do is pull the emergency brake.”

“You are not mature enough to tell it like it is. Even that burden you leave to us children. But I don’t care about being popular. I care about climate justice and the Living Planet. Our civilization is being sacrificed for the opportunity with a very small number of people to continue making enormous amounts of money. Our biosphere is being sacrificed so that rich people in countries like mine can live in luxury. It is the sufferings of the many which pay for the luxuries of the few.”

“We cannot solve a crisis without treating it as a crisis. We need to keep the fossil fuels in the ground and we need to focus on equity. And if solutions within this system are so impossible to find then maybe we should change the system itself. We have not come here to beg world leaders to care. You have ignored us in the past and you will ignore us again. We have run out of excuses and we are running out of time. We have come here to let you know that change is coming whether you like it or not. The real power belongs to the people!”

And people power is spreading. Also today, the rapidly growing Extinction Rebellion movement will stage a day of peaceful protests against the broadcaster the BBC at various locations in the UK “to highlight the pivotal role the BBC needs to play in facing the ecological and climate emergency.”

Representatives of Extinction Rebellion hand delivered a letter to BBC Director General Tony Hall requesting an urgent meeting concerning “how the corporation can meet its crucial moral duty to tell the full truth on the climate and ecological emergency”.

The letter also urges the BBC to step up “in enabling the transformative change needed so that we can face this emergency together.”

They are also joined by the ever expanding Sunrise Movement in the US, which I blogged about earlier in the week, in speaking truth to power and demanding action now.

And looking forward to the New Year, Extinction Rebellion has just announced that it is preparing for a National Day of Action on 26th January 2019, what they call their ‘Rebellion Day 1’. And in the UK, the first UK wide School Strike called has been called for Friday 15 February.

The youth are rising, the climate rebellion is growing. Despite Trump, there are reasons to be cheerful for 2019. So thank you Greta and all the other young climate activists out there.