I’d like to be 16 again, to have a purpose and direction, something uncommon for one so young during that bit of time allotted my friends and I by the fates. I’d like to walk down the …
I’d like to be 16 again, to have a purpose and direction, something uncommon for one so young during that bit of time allotted my friends and I by the fates. I’d like to walk down the street, at least in spirit, hand in hand with the likes of Sweden’s 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg and with 16-year-old Isra Hirsi. But my friends and I drank beer instead. We were the spawn of an uninspiring educational system and a society still gasping for air after the Great Depression and World War II.
Some of you readers will be acquainted with Greta Thunberg because of her recent address to the United Nations—and about whom I previously have written. An Asperger victim whom I compare to Joan of Arc. Greta is building a world-wide army of the young, while also imploring elders to save the planet.
But I’m sure most of you are wondering who in the hell is Isra Hirsi. It just so happens she is the daughter of U.S. Congresswoman Ilhana Omar of Minnesota, a Muslim and an energized unapologetic-liberal critic of Donald Trump. Isra, like Greta, appears intelligent and articulate beyond her years.
Her being a dark-skinned Muslim, of course, and “just a kid,” really gets into the ego of the of aging white guys aligned with Donald Trump in the pursuit of individual ease and comfort. Well, I’m white, older than dirt—and I’m totally on the side of this younger generation (my grandchildren and great grandchildren) to whom we are leaving this mess of a planet, polluted by the waste of our own pleasures.
Climate change, says Isra, has “become my generation’s life. Seeing how little time we have and how this continues to manifest itself into a bigger issue, more people are realizing that we need to protect our own futures.”
Isra is co-founder and executive director of U.S. Youth Climate Strike, our nation’s branch of a global youth-led climate movement. The organization was a leader in the Sept. 20 student strike that brought an estimated 4 million people into the streets around the world.
In her mother’s footsteps, Isra notes: “We don’t talk a lot about how the crisis impacts black, brown, indigenous, and low-income communities. It’s a problem in Minnesota like it is everywhere. You’ll see increased asthma rates in north Minneapolis, where incomes are lower and air pollution is worse, while pipelines rip through the state’s indigenous land.
“When we talk about the climate crisis and we don’t talk about these communities being affected, we create this cycle of it becoming a white issue that doesn’t care about black and brown bodies. And that allows for solutions that don’t care about black and brown bodies.”
If my spirit wends its way to you Isra, this is my standing-audience, whistling ovation to your remarks.
Greta is taking a year off from school in her continuing campaign against climate change. She attended the Climate Strike Sept. 27 in Montreal, Quebec. She has spoken to the British Parliament (April), the French Parliament (July), the Sept. UN climate summit and is booked for the UN again at the climate summit conference COP25 in Santiago, Chile in December.
But no word, of course, of an invitation to address the U.S. Congress. Free speech has its limits under anti-science, climate-change denier Donald Trump.
The recent Climate Strike, featuring students but attracting all ages, was something more than students cutting class at area high schools.
Sept. 20-27 saw a record 7.6 million people take to the streets and strike for climate action. The biggest climate mobilization in history. From Jakarta to New York, Karachi to Amman, Berlin to Kampala, Istanbul to Québec, Guadalajara to Asunción, in big cities and small villages, millions of people joined hands and raised their voices in defense of the climate.
There were more than 2,000 protests in 125 countries. The student movement was inspired by 16-year-old, Greta now nominated for a Nobel Prize, who kicked off at the global movement.
Also pictured above, Jay Inslee, longtime U.S. congressman and present Washington governor, has been a strong leader in the battle against climate change. A firm supporter of education and drug policy reform—and a critic of Donald Trump
The other day (Sept. 27), Inslee directed the state health board to ban flavored vape products, including those containing THC (a psychoactive chemical found in marijuana). This seems reasonable in response to the mysterious, sometimes fatal lung illness linked to e-cigarettes that has rippled across the nation. But contentious debate is expected when the legislature re-convenes in January.