Months ago, I signed on to receive updates from my local chapter of Fridays for Future, a global movement that started in August 2018, when 15-year-old Greta Thunberg sat in front of the Swedish parliament every school day for three weeks, to protest against the lack of action on the climate crisis. My goal was to take some time away from work on a few Fridays to join youth, including my two teenage daughters, at Queen’s Park on Fridays to connect with others and form a collective sense of urgency and action for climate change.
I’m ashamed to say, I have not gone once.
Like many, I live in two worlds: one where daily to-do lists keep me focused on the present, while horrible existential dread about climate crisis makes me feel overwhelmed and afraid.
Greta explained her rationale for striking from school this way:
“Why study for a future that isn’t there? Why spend effort becoming educated when the government doesn’t listen to or behave like the educated?”
Of course, the same can be said about work. I remember turning to my husband a few years ago, saying, “if what they’re saying about the climate crisis is true, why don’t we all stop everything, stop working, and put all of our energy into saving ourselves?” This is what Greta was brave and smart enough to do when she stopped going to school.
Now it’s our turn to take a stand with kids and youth like her and put human life and the life of species that share this planet before our daily work lives. In Greta’s own words:
“Adults keep saying we owe it to the young people, to give them hope, but I don’t want your hope. I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. I want you to act. I want you to act as you would in a crisis. I want you to act as if the house is on fire, because it is.”
It’s scary, but she’s right. And we support her and all of the other youth who face a scary and uncertain future.
In our weekly staff meeting last week, two of my brave and smart colleagues encouraged us to strike together and walk out of our offices on September 27th because our house is on fire. Our Founder and management agreed. That’s why I, along with all of my Park People colleagues will stop work on September 27th and walk out in solidarity with students all across Canada who will strike from school to express the urgent need to address the climate crisis.
Park People’s work is strongly connected to the environmental movement. We know that many of our community park groups focus on environmental stewardship and have a deep love of nature. But more than that, all of us are humans who want to continue living on this planet and sharing it with other species, and we know that we must act now.
We hope you’ll join us in your communities and Strike for the Climate on September 27th.
Here are ways you can get involved:
- To strike with Park People in Toronto: Please meet us at the Richmond East entrance of 401 Richmond Street West at 10:00 as we begin our walk to Queen’s Park.
- Join us at Toronto’s Queen’s Park. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll provide you with a cell number you can use to connect with us on site.
- In cities across Canada: Find a Fridays for Future chapter in your city. Or, plan to attend or lead a strike. Invite others affiliated with your community park group to strike along with you using your website and all of your social media chapters. Fridays for the Future has a great promotion kit you can use to spread the word.
If you can’t strike: Check out Global Climate Strike to find other ways to participate, including a digital strike.