“We Deserve a Future”
On Friday, September 20,
Join Youth Around the World in Climate Strike
Climate activist protest near the UN headquarters on August 30, 2019, in New York.
Xiye Bastida, Global Youth Leader for Strike with US!, stands at center with Greta Thunberg to the side.
We need to remember that we are on earth to take care of life not to take over life. … This is the only issue that is affecting everyone everywhere; the only thing we can do is face it so that it doesn’t affect some people more than others. … Ground yourself spiritually and then bring the climate crisis to everything you do.
Xiye Bastida, from her podcast interview with Y on Earth
According to youth leaders, the upcoming September 20 Climate Strike marks a new moment in their global movement. Just over a year ago, on 20 August 2018, the Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, then in the ninth grade, decided to not attend school until the 2018 Sweden general election on September 9. Six months later, on March 15th, 1.6 million students joined school strikes for climate and on May 24 their numbers included 1.9 million students in at least 2,000 separate locations from over 160 countries around the world. Now, for the first time, they are specifically requesting adults to join them. On the September 20, youth leaders are asking adults to strike with them in support of their straight-forward demand:
Act on the science. Give us back our future.
Recent surveys of young people reveal that the climate crisis is among their biggest fears about their own future. Many young people are facing ‘eco-anxiety’ and in some instances associated higher levels of depression and despair. This growing anxiety is accompanied by a sense that the older generation has abandoned the youth to climate breakdown and are unwilling to change their priorities, both personal and political, to protect the worst from happening.
This is suffering, global and rising among young people.
We are called by our tradition to embody the GuanYin Bodhisattva and respond to these explicit cries of the world. Other communities of faith are organizing to answer this call and we invite practitioners of all ages within our community to join them. For Buddhist and Mindfulness communities, we humbly suggest that this is not one to sit out. This is a time to move beyond no-thoughts and metta prayers. It is a time to manifest the Dharma in decisive action for the clear benefit of all beings. The youth organizers of the Climate Strike are offering an excellent opportunity to put compassion into action.
- We have collaborated with GreenFaith and Interfaith Power & Light on an interfaith statement in support of the strike. Hundreds of religious, spiritual and moral leaders have already signed. Add your name here and share with your networks.
- “Join” at the Global Strikes site (you may be directed to your in-country site)
- Find a Strike near you and RSVP to that event
- If a local strike event hasn’t been created, consider creating one!
- If you are an adult, be sure to check out this resource, “How to Stand with Young Climate Strikers” so that we can all ensure that youth voices continue to be the center of our collective attention.
- Join a gathering of Buddhist/Mindfulness Contingents within Climate Strike Event
- If there isn’t one in your area, we’d love to support you in identifying and sharing a location at or near the main event for your Buddhist/mindfulness community to meet. Please register your Buddhist/mindfulness meeting place HERE so others in your area who might be excited to join such a gathering can find you.
- Consider joining an online training to learn and share ideas and skills with other climate strike organisers through online chat, polls and small groups.
Spread the Word
- Whether you create a meeting place or not, get the word out in your regional mindfulness community including local Sanghas, and sitting groups for folks to join the strike.As the event organizers put it, “Talk to everyone you know – young or grown-up – about the climate strikes, about what they’ve achieved already; and our role in supporting young people. Share with them your own reasons for wanting to see urgent climate action. Tell them about Greta’s message of climate emergency, or, even better, show them one of her powerful speeches.” Take a photo or record a quick video of yourself holding a sign/ explaining why you want to take part right along with the person watching! Your reasons for joining the global climate strike might resonate with someone unexpected and encourage them to join too. Read more here.
- To promote your participation or your meeting place, use the social media resources (here or here) or create your own. Be sure you use the hashtags, #ClimateStrike, #StrikewithUS (in the US), #FaithsForFuture, and our own community’s #CompassionTakesAction.
- Learn more about how to organize for the climate strikes here.
Prepare to Strike
- Let your co-workers as well as family, and friends know that you won’t be going to work that day and why joining this strike matters to you. (Breaking our collective silence on climate crisis is fundamental to any social shift.)
- Make some signs (like this one?) that explicitly supporting the youth organizer’s their core message and demands.
Strike with Youth!
- On September 20 comes, prepare to devote the day to taking action especially on behalf of youth.
- Take pictures and share them with your community and on social media, again with the hashtags, #ClimateStrike, #StrikeWithUS (US), #FaithsForFuture, and our community’s #CompassionTakesAction.
Neither striking on September 20 nor even supporting youth in climate strikes is the ultimate goal. We need broad-scale systemic change and individual change. We need to act like our children’s future is at stake simply because it is.
- Share your experience of the strike in conversation with co-workers, friends and family and through social media using the hashtags above.
- Stay connected and in support of the Youth Climate Strikes
- Encourage your town, city, county, state/province or country to declare a (well-defined) Climate Emergency
- Encourage your Sangha to use regular classes, Dharma talks and sitting groups to focus on climate-crisis during Earth Care Week, Sunday October 6 – 13.
- Gather a group to participate in the new EcoSattva Training
With these actions taken, may whatever goodness is generated here go out into the world for the highest benefit of all beings.