Did you know that today, March 15, 2019, there is a world-wide strike going on?
It’s not workers striking for fair benefits.
It’s not women striking for equal pay.
Today’s adults and senior citizens have failed tomorrow’s in numerous ways:
Ridiculously low tax rates since Reagan that have resulted in lack of funds for infrastructure, public education, public health, scientific research – all kinds of public goods. Quoting a recent Washington Post article on this topic:
“…from 1932 and 1981 the top tax rate in this country never fell below 63 percent and rose as high as 92 percent. It wasn’t until the election of Ronald Reagan that top tax rates dropped from 70 percent to 28 percent.”
(You know what else happened between 1932 and 1981? The largest growth of the middle class and wide-spread prosperity the world has ever seen. AOC’s tax plan doesn’t seem so crazy after all, does it?)
Deregulation that has fucked us time and again, most recently in the 2007-2008 worldwide financial system meltdown. Regular people suffered and were never made whole. The banksters got away with it. And Republicans have already repealed some of the very minor safeguards Congress managed to pass in the aftermath to try to prevent the same disaster from happening again.
Complicity with George W Bush’s wars-on-the-credit-card. Yeah, I know, I didn’t support them, either. But enough of us did that they happened, and that moral and financial debt is going to be weighing on future citizens for generations.
The privatization fad, which regularly benefits the richest and harms the most needy among us. Oh – and we’re more than happy to privatize profit and socialize risk. Again, guess who tends to bear that socialized risk? It’s not rich folks in fancy neighborhoods.
(For more on all of this, see Vox’s interview with A Generation of Sociopaths author Bruce Gibney. Notably, Gibney appears to let GenX off the hook, but I don’t think my generation’s hands are clean, either.)
But perhaps the worst way we’ve failed today’s youth (who will be tomorrow’s adults) is around climate change. Scientists have been aware that our climate is changing as a result of increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere since the 1960s. Governments have been aware of it since the 1980s. It’s been in the public consciousness for well over a decade.
What meaningful steps have adults taken to try to stop or even ameliorate the forces and choices that are going to render the earth uninhabitable for human beings within 80 years – OR LESS?
So the kids are striking, Goddess guard and bless them. The idea originated with a group of students in Australia and has since gone world-wide.Their list of demands is simple, one local (stopping a local coal mine) and two global:
- No new coal or gas
- 100% renewable energy by 2030
Will that be easy? Of course not. But we put a man on the goddamn moon with less sophisticated computers than the one inside your iPhone (and the hard work and genius of some damn fine mathematicians who also happened to be black women). If we – today’s adults – cared, we could do this thing. We just lack the will and community solidarity.
You can read – and listen to – the stories of young people across the US explaining why they are striking today in a recent Washington Post feature (it’s excellent – I highly recommend clicking through and taking a few minutes to listen to these young leaders in their own words).
As of last count there were nearly 600 sister strikes planned in more than 60 countries world-wide. Perhaps there’s one in your area you could join (they tell me adults are invited)?
Edited to add: updated count is over 1.5 million student strikers, per Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) – and she would know!
If not – or if you can’t join – you can spread the word. Share this blog post. Look for #ClimateStrike tweets and Insta stories and like and share them. Amplify the voices and stories of these young leaders. Speak out about climate change to your family, your friends, and your neighbors. Call your Senators and Representative, your state legislative representative, your mayor, your city council, and demand that they take action. (The students even prepared an extensive online guide in case you don’t know what to say.)
The Young ARE At The Gates, as the suffragist banner above (that’s on display at the Belmont Paul Women’s Equality National Monument) states. But they need our help – and it is literally THE LEAST we can do.
Photo by the author. If you reuse, please link back.
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