Last year my grandfather told me that you get a revolution when people are pushed to the extreme.
This means that climate change one of the hardest issues to act upon, because although climate change is one of the biggest threats to humanity, by the time we are pushed to an extreme it will be too late. Especially in the countries that need to take the largest steps.
Does that mean we can’t create a revolution?
No it doesn’t.
I believe that humans are not only motivated by fear and despair; but are also motivated by love. And it is love for their children, love for animals and love humanity that is driving the change today.
Yet what about our leaders? Where is their love? They don’t seem to be behaving in a way that suggests they love us or care for us. Could that be true? Again I’d like to hope for the better. You see, one of the biggest problems in love between people is communication and understanding. And the more different they are, the more difficult it is for them to communicate in and behave in a way that shows understanding and compromise.
The same goes for our leaders and us young people. We come from completely different generations. Our political and business leaders have grown up in a generation where they were born into world war two, grew up in an era overshadowed by cold war, nuclear proliferation, during oil booms and crises. A time where suspicion between countries was at their peak, and multi-culture barely heard of. They have watched economies all over the world grow and prosper on fossil fuels and resource exploitation, as markets have liberalised and we’ve moved from a time of military powers to economic powers.
And our lives couldn’t be more different. We have been born into an information age where we connect at the click of a button. We are the solar generation living in a globalised world that is shrinking by the second. A world where an Australian will marry an Indian and live in Africa with friends from all over. We are living in an era where we have a black president in a predominantly white country, a Christian leader in a predominantly Hindu country, and people in Australia, Europe and North America protest for the struggles of those in Africa, Asia, Middle East and South America.
Our generation is learning to love beyond borders. We are learning that we are not different races, but one people. We are not neighbouring countries, but a global family. And it is our responsibility to look after our brothers and sisters of the globe.
The difference is stark and we probably have a bigger generation gap then any two generations in history. And the fact that our leaders have grown up in a generation that has created the problem makes them unsuitable for deciding the future of climate change. If we are going to reach a future target of 350ppm to safeguard the survival our generation and future generations the world will have to look very different. The thinking that created the problem will not be the thinking that will create the solution.
Leaders of the world: please understand us. Love us. Protect us. But most of all, please learn from us.
Young people all over the world are creating history. Creating the change we need to save ourselves from the impending climate catastrophe. The past 5 years has seen youth movements rise up on every continent.
This year US saw the largest climate conference in the world’s history, Powershift, which had 12.5 thousand young people stand up for climate justice. Young people in Australia have continued to chain themselves against coal power plants and blockade the world’s largest coal port in civil disobedience against the world’s largest exporter. Youth in Africa are building to empower youth communities to tackle climate change on the ground as the climate impacts become increasingly present in the poorer parts of the planet. And we in India completed one of the largest solar powered electric car trips, as we travelled 4000km reaching out to millions as we created, communicated and celebrated climate solutions.
Youth are not only driving activism but also technical innovation and creative entrepreneurial ventures that will be required to decarbonise our economies. However no matter what the action that is being taken, the fundamental underlying value is love. And our youth movement also, is grounded in this love that I speak of.
This movement can guide our leaders to the solutions that science and climate justice demands. Instead of wanting to take, countries need to learn to give. Instead of playing politics countries need to show leadership. Instead of getting frustrated each country needs to act with compassion – to understand the struggles of other peoples and other nations. And do not; do not compromise your values. Because it is only with love, understanding and integrity will we arrive at a global solution to the global problem and build a global revolution.