At one point in time, we dreamed of going somewhere far – a place where no one knows us, where we can be free – a kind of liberation that only comes from solitude. We long for a place where we can discover something new – a kind of place where we can say, “This is the world we live in. This is our home.”
Early on in our school life, we learned about the amazon and the glaciers – two seemingly different facets of nature. While they seem to be the complete opposites of one another, there lies between them a certain kind of similarity. Perhaps, it is the way each of them provides a certain balance in nature.
With the trees, the never-ending greenery, the animals, and all living creatures, our home is a place that not only sustains us but ultimately enables us to live. It is through nature that we find ourselves breathing and living and thriving.
And we have enjoyed these blessings from nature. It is a privilege to have the opportunity to see nature grow – to see our home thrive.
Perhaps, it was a privilege.
Today, we are constantly faced with the reality that our home is on fire. The amazon is burning and the glaciers are melting.
It took a courageous 16-year-old girl, who spent her school days outside the Swedish parliament, for us to realize this truth. Marching to her own beat, this girl has created echoes of change. This girl has fuelled the sparks of climate action and inspired thousands of people worldwide to strike on #FridaysForFuture.
The girl is Greta Thunberg.
During her speech in this year’s World Economic Forum, Thunberg did not mince her words as she said, “I often hear adults say, ‘We need to give the next generation hope.’ But I don’t want your hope. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I do. Every day. And I want you to act. I want you to behave like our house is on fire. Because it is.”
The words of our national hero Jose Rizal have been ingrained in us – that the youth is our hope. While Greta epitomizes hope, Greta is still a kid. Greta should be in school – receiving the same quality education we all had. Greta, like many others, deserves to have the same privilege we had.
While it does inspire change, we can’t let our youth be our only hope. We can’t allow them to carry the burden of saving our future. It is our responsibility to not only give them hope, but to fuel those sparks of hope through actions. We can do this in so many ways, but the pressing issue here is having all of our voices be heard by our governments. All around the world, we see thousands of people rally for change. We see over 500,000 people in Germany and over a million people in Canada marching on towards climate action.
It is never too late to do something to save our home. It is never too late to run through the tunnel and see the light at the end.
Greta is underscoring the importance of climate action in today’s time. “And yes, we do need hope. Of course, we do. But the one thing that we need more than hope is action. Once we start to act, hope is everywhere. So, instead of looking for hope, we should look for action. Then and only then, hope will come today.”
Hope will come. But for now, all we need is to act.