Fifty years ago youth spoke out in one voice for peace and against the Vietnam War at the Woodstock music festival in upstate New York. Some credit their massive outcry with increasing pressure to end America’s involvement in that destructive conflict.
Flash forward to today’s youth, preparing to speak in far larger numbers than Woodstock’s half-million in an international strike for climate action this coming Friday, Sept. 20.
Students all over the world will go on strike that day to impress on political and civic leaders how seriously young people take our climate crisis and the need for effective action to preserve livable climate conditions on our planet for future generations.
One of the architects of this movement is a 16-year-old Swedish hero named Greta Thunberg, who has almost single-handedly galvanized leaders in her own country into action on the climate crisis.
Last November, Ms. Thunberg addressed a United Nations climate change conference in Poland, reproaching the assembled adults, “You are not mature enough to tell it like it is. Even that burden, you leave to us children.”
I urge adults to seek out actions being taken by students locally and to stand with them. We all need to do more to prevent the climate crisis from becoming more dire than it already is, and it would be cowardly to leave it to the young to confront the existential threat of climate change by themselves.
One local gathering will be held 4-6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 20, at the corner of Second and Walnut streets in downtown Hudson. For those outside of Hudson, it’s likely there are actions in your own town. Find and support them. Youth need to know they’re not fighting this battle alone. Fellow adults, we’re needed.
Thomas R. Smith