There were 4 million of us around the world on strike a couple of weeks ago. And most of those striking, were children. In Sydney, I stood under the shade of magnificent Morton Bay Fig trees, at the Domain, and pinched myself a few times. How did humanity get to this point, where 10 year olds standing on a podium, speaking to almost 100,000 of us, have more wisdom, empathy, and eloquence than the world’s most powerful politicians put together? And why are these children being called crazy, mentally unstable, by some of these powerful, mostly white men? Of course, thankfully, I’ve just remembered. The establishment, patriarchy, or any system that refuses to change and come out of denial is at its ugliest, most vindictive when it’s under threat. When it thinks it’s about to die.
So, that’s why I’ve decided to get vocal. I owe this re-emerging courage to my 16- year -old within. She’s the one who got me off my butt to attend the climate strike, when it would have been way easier to take a ‘nanna nap.’ She’s the one who reminded me that one way I can contribute to saving Mother Earth is by donating all proceeds from the workshop I facilitated, the day after the strike, called “Dance with Mother Earth” to the Australian Conservation Foundation.
I’ve been wondering why I’ve cried every time I heard Greta Thunberg say, ‘How dare you? You have stolen my dreams and childhood with your empty words.’
And the answer is not at all comfortable. When I was 14, my father, taught my siblings and I about Rachel Carson’s book, ‘Silent Spring.’ We learnt about the dangers of fertilisers and pesticides. Once, when we were passing fields of cows, my father told us that all those cows farting created more problems than the cars on the road! Of course, we had a good giggle at the idea of cows farting. However, we learnt about methane emissions, way back in 1975. But I was a child, and I thought someone else, the adults, would sort out the impending calamities we were heading for. No one did. By the time I was an adult, I got hypnotized by the 1980’s mantra ‘Greed is good.’ And here we are. Things are far worse than imagined. And, there is hope too, because the voices of 16 year olds are being heard. Finally.
That’s why my 16- year- old within has re-emerged. She’s been waiting patiently all these years. But these days, she’s found powerful allies, and she’s been getting angry and hopeful, all in one breath, just like those children on the podium at the Domain!
This time, I’m not standing by, hoping someone else will fix the world. I believe we can change the world one person at a time. Our children, and grandchildren are living proof of that quote.
As Greta Thunberg told the UN less than two weeks ago,
Change is coming, whether you like it or not.
As I end this blog piece, my wish is that it entices your 16 -year -old, within and without to become part of the change.