“My generation has largely failed until now to preserve justice in the world and to preserve the planet. It is your generation that must make us be accountable to make sure that we don't betray the future of humankind.” — United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres -- to a gathering of youth concerned about climate change.
Some accuse young climate activists like Greta Thunberg of being manipulated by socialist climate ideologues. On the other hand, do we need to look any farther than our own families to find a loved child who is: acutely interested in climate change; stressed by visions of the future; motivated to speak out like never before?
Recently, the news has been filled with stories coming from Scotland. One headline proclaims “At COP26, Youth Activists from Around the World Call Out Decades of Delay.” This banner is accompanied by the following story:
Jon Bonifacio was on his way to becoming a doctor when the urgency and seriousness of the climate crisis began to sink in. The Philippines, where the 24-year-old was in medical school, is feeling global warming’s effects, with more intense cyclones striking the low-lying archipelago. Projections of sea level rise indicate that even the hospital where he expected to intern would be underwater by 2050.
‘The reality of it really makes you want to do something,’ he said.
What he did was drop out of medical school earlier this year to devote himself full-time to addressing climate change. In November, he headed for the climate meetings in Glasgow, representing Youth Advocates for Climate Action Philippines, an organization he founded in 2019 with a small group of friends and that now counts hundreds of members all over the country.
Thousands of diplomats, policy wonks, scientists and activists from all over the world have flocked to Scotland for COP26. Some of the most outspoken and visible participants are, like Bonifacio, also among the youngest. On Nov. 5, Bonifacio took the stage alongside Greta Thunberg of Sweden and Vanessa Nakate of Uganda as part of the school strike staged by Fridays for Future outside the COP26 meeting halls. www.insideclimatenews.org.
Will we listen to our children, our youth, our next generation and let them excite us and motivate us, especially if we are having some difficulty seeing climate change as a crisis today?