A tribal leader asked me this week, how do we get youth activated to care about protecting our earth?
The next one you come across, take the time to talk. Perhaps they already are up to date on what is going on, but have not been given permission to act on it, to speak out loud and say what they feel and talk about their fears and their hopes for the future they hope to have. Our young people get very little time to express the deeper concerns. Allow this to happen with you.
They are the treasure and the earth's true hope. Just as we were to our parents. We are the era who used our earth's resources, scarred, scraped, raped her and mixed and mashed, and finally burned those precious parts until we have changed her in ways over the last 50 years, 90 years. This earth is hurting and hurling through space, each day on her path around the sun. The earth our home will fail to support the species who has done this. The earth will continue. We will not kill her, we will change her, our only home.
Greta Thunberg first learned about climate change when she was 8 years old. By the age of eleven she became depressed and got out of it by promising she would do everything she could to change things. She attended marches and demonstrations. In 2018 she was diagnosed with Asperger's, ODC and selective mutism and speaks only when she thinks it is necessary and "Now is one of those moments."
Now 16, she and many young activists around the world are concerned they will bear the brunt of the climate crisis created by earlier generations. This is overwhelming. And this fear already has a phobia name, eco anxiety. You may be experiencing it too, like I am. But like Greta, actually speaking when her age, I avoided, enough so, even transferring colleges to avoid taking speech.
The changes occurring to our climate, the endless rain and tree branches down this season by the winds, that and the fear of ever more flooding. t is all intolerable and hopeless until you invest some time with a group of young people who in barely an hour that group began to look like a MOVEMENT of Social Action. Now that will give you hope.
Find these people, or if you must, practice turning a neighbor, a brother or sister on. The climate changes we experience in Miami, OK get worse when we have one of our elected leaders in the Senate actually sets the city up for more and even worse flooding by the simple act of slipping an amendment into the most sacrosanct bills Congress passes, the National Defense Authorization Act to benefit recreation over property and livelihood for you or your neighbors.
Greta Thunberg, a Swedish climate activist, has told world leaders: 'I don't want you to be hopeful, I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day and then I want you to act.' In an impassioned warning to act now on climate change, Thunberg told her audience at Davos: 'Either we choose to go on as a civilization or we don’t.
I didn't panic when Brazil elected a president who was bold for economic development, but the indigenous people living in the Amazon did. And their lives and the forest which produces much of the oxygen we need is being allowed to burn so farmers and ranchers can have it. The greater good scientists and most 8th graders know it provides for the world is burning, and all within it will burn as well. Can America or Europe stop this? They did it, too, to their own vast forests in the past centuries.
The North American tribal people experienced this and know it is happening again while they and the world watches. And that is why twenty five years ago, eleven year old Eddie Wade sat up straight after hearing about Tar Creek and said, "We're Indian, we are for the earth!" knowing he must even then start speaking up for her.
Tribal leaders are adopting Rights of Nature giving legal equality to non-human life as adopted by the United Nations. One of our own has been there and spoken up, James Walkingstick.
Fifty-six years ago this week Martin Luther King Jr. gave his I Have a Dream speech and interviewed afterwards he used a couple of phrases that are helpful in these times. With bold and grim determination... we must subpoena the conscience of America... in those days and these he was speaking about racial justice. But these same words could be coming from Greta Thumberg as she is seeking to enlist each human on the planet to act.
There is an urgency because our house is on fire, and my generation and perhaps yours lit the match.
Respectfully Submitted ~ Rebecca Jim