Tag Archives: activists

Young Climate Activists

At the moment sixteen child petitioners are using the UN’s conventions on the rights of children to challenge over climate change. Greta Thunberg is the only name being reliably mentioned, but there are fifteen other young people in this amazing project.

Here’s one of the other named petitioners – Alexandria Villaseñor.

 

I have a great deal of respect for Greta Thunberg and a great deal of unease about how she’s represented in the media. She’s not a lone voice, she’s one among many – and if we draw attention to the many other young activists, we strengthen their position. One lone girl is easier for old white trolls to attack. The more visible activists there are, the more names we know, the harder a time the trolls will have attacking them.

There’s also a thing going on where white people with power in the media are getting interested because there’s a white person they can point at. One of the things I’ve learned from Twitter is that there are many young POC activists who have been working for years and who deserve just as much attention. People of Colour are already disproportionately affected by climate change and we need to help amplify their stories and resist media whitewashing.

If you love what Greta is doing, if you are inspired and excited by her, then don’t make it all about her. Find out who your local activists are and what they’re working on. Find out what the local issues are. Find other young activists and give them your support. One girl is not a movement. There is a whole movement out there around the world, and we can all help make it more visible.

 

Little Miss Flint (now 11) Mari Copeny has been campaigning about the Flint Water Crisis since she was 8.

Here she is getting an activism award this year.

 

Isra Hirsi is the co-founder of the U.S. Youth Climate Strike.

 

Autumn Peltier, 13-year-old water advocate, addresses the UN

 

If you’re already supporting a young activist please do add to the comments.


Politics without borders

I thought I’d write about this because it’s something cheering and hopeful, and I think we could all do with a bit more of that!

Not so long ago, I shared a petition relating to UK politics, it was shared by someone not in the UK with a comment that they might have online friends to whom it would be relevant. I see this all the time. I’ve signed petitions to challenge coral reef destruction, and rainforest logging and many other things of that ilk. I’ve signed LGBTQ petitions to try and defend the human rights of people in other countries. All over the world, politics is crossing borders.

This is a wonderful thing. It’s a recognition that our shared planet and shared humanity are real, whereas borders and countries are just ideas we had. The great evils cross borders – pollution, climate change, loss of resources, extinctions, oppression, exploitation – these are not issues for single countries, but for all of us. What happens in one place can and does affect us all.

The internet is a mixed blessing, but without a doubt, the power to connect with activists around the world, to share issues that aren’t on our own doorsteps, to support causes and actions without borders is an amazing thing. Funds can be raised internationally to get things done – be that adverts, paying for lawyers, answering aid needs or anything else productive. Information, knowledge, tactics and successes are shared, because those cross borders with ease, too.

Increasingly there are people who are citizens of the world, who will challenge injustice, exploitation and destruction any place that needs fighting with whatever means they have to do so. That’s exciting. That’s a radical change with massive implications. It’s worth taking a moment to pause and savour it.