In his 1971 book, Unforeseen Wilderness, American writer, poet, and cultural critic Wendell Berry wrote that environmental stewardship has been lost by most of modern society — but that it can be recovered:
“We can learn about it from exceptional people of our own culture, and from other cultures less destructive than ours. I am speaking of the life of a man who knows that the world is not given by his fathers, but borrowed from his children; who has undertaken to cherish it and do it no damage, not because he is duty-bound, but because he loves the world and loves his children…”
Well, the children are now demanding environmental stewardship from those who hold positions of power. This week (September 20 – 27, 2019), in over 150 countries, young people are asking others to join them in global climate strikes.
A Student-Led Movement
Every Friday, millions of “school climate strikers” have been walking out of their classrooms to participate in demonstrations to demand action to prevent further global warming and climate change. FridaysForFuture was inspired by the publicity generated by Swedish teen climate activist Greta Thunberg, who, in August 2018, staged a protest outside the Swedish parliament, holding a sign that translated to “school strike for the climate.” Thunberg reportedly was inspired by the teen activists at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, and their March for Our Lives, a student-led demonstration in support of legislation to prevent gun violence in the United States.
Now the FridaysForFuture activists hope that everyone else will join them in action. According to the official Global Climate Strike website:
“Going on climate strike means people everywhere walking out of their homes, their offices, their farms, their factories. Everyone is needed to disrupt business as usual: from sports stars, actors, and teachers to food industry workers, psychologists, delivery drivers, and everything in between. We can all take part, whatever our circumstances, by refusing to accept the status quo. Already people in 150 countries are organizing for the global climate strikes this September. Some will spend the day in protest against new pipelines and mines, or the banks that fund them; some will highlight the oil companies fueling this crisis and the politicians that enable them. Others will spend the day in action raising awareness in their communities and pushing for solutions to the climate crisis that have justice and equity at their heart. On a grossly unequal planet, not everyone will be able to take a day off or take part in the same way. But we can all take a stand and make our voices heard.”
While the movement was inspired, organized, and led by students, the wave of activism has also reached workers in mass quantities — like the more than 1,800 Amazon employees who walked out on Friday, September 20, over the company’s inaction on climate change (despite CEO Jeff Bezos’s September 19 announcement that the company is making a pact to follow the Paris climate agreement — a cross-country pledge for nations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions — and pledging to be carbon-neutral by 2040.)
In addition to students and workers, more and more companies are getting involved, too. Ben & Jerry’s, Patagonia, Lush Cosmetics, Badger Balm, Burton, RE Botanicals, and SodaStream showed support by shuttering their headquarters, retail stores, and/or e-commerce sites. More than 7,000 companies — including Tumblr, WordPress, Imgur, Kickstarter, BitTorrent, Greenpeace, and Change.org — have pledged to draw attention to the protest by way of a digital climate strike, either donating ad space or putting banners on their sites.
Take a look at just a fraction of the growing list of companies supporting the global climate strikes and other events scheduled between September 20 and 27, according to the American Sustainable Business Council. Then head on over to the Global Climate Strike website to learn how you can support the movement, what’s on the horizon after this week, and so much more.
Companies Showing Their Support For the Strikes:
Vanessa Childers is the Editorial Director of Conscious Company Media, where she bolsters digital brand awareness and drives the overarching content strategy.