Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/09/13/they-cant-vote-yet-youths-are-ready-climatestrike
I am 71. I was drafted into the US Army and went to Vietnam. American society was in a roil. We were even more uncivil to each other than we are now with the extra added element of very real and pervasive violence. Some of our cities were burning as a result of class oppression and riots against the Vietnam War were breaking out across the country. The youth of this country were mobilized in a way never before seen. True the alleged cause of this turmoil was the ultimate human violence of war. Perhaps it could have been about the fact that it was being torn apart because those who controlled humanity did not like the way things had unfolded here since the 1930s.
Nonetheless, despite all of the turmoil there was a great hope among my generation that things were about to change for the better. Even with us shouting at each other that hope seemed to prevail. That all we were going through was a sign of great change and that our generation would be the one that made those changes. Today my generation has made things worse - not better. We put our noses to the grindstone and in fact ushered in even a greater lack of civility and selfishness that we do not even pretend is inhumane. I hope that history treats this generation differently. For the first time in human history we face a planet wide threat - Climate Change. This time I hope there is a new generation in place that can rise to the challenge of our extinction. If they cannot then the best that the human herd can hope for is that enough of us will survive the total collapse of civilization and humanity trying to claw its way out of the inevitable barbarism it will live by. I am hopeful. For the sake of us all I hope that they are up to the task. I think that they can be but the question remains: Will they choose to be?
As one with 5 grandchildren, I’m glad to see youth involved in what “adults” SHOULD be doing! That said, I doubt that any youth are aware of the COMPLEXITY of the problem, as discussed here: https://www.academia.edu/40234522/The_Worst_Mistake. And BECAUSE of that failure, I fear that all of their energy will come to naught!