On March 15th, 2019, 1.6 million students from 125 countries and more than 2,000 cities marched to demand urgent and decisive actions against the climate crisis. In India, strikes took place in over 30 different cities. Renuka Saroha, based in India is mother to Renaan (2) and part of the global Parents for the Future network.
“I have planted trees, I refused, reduced and recycled plastic, I ate a vegetarian diet, used organic food, read labels before buying, switched off lights and saved water. I did everything I was told to protect our environment. Yet my son was born in one of the hottest year, since 1880. In 2 years of his life, he witnessed extreme heat and extreme cold and air so polluted that it was declared unfit for breathing. As a new mother, I was scared of many things, what if he falls from my arms, what if he gets my nose and his father’s sense of humour but my biggest worry was and it still stands, what if we fail to act and create a future that we can not even imagine?
After years of being in the climate movement, I was ecstatic when last year students decided to act. Kids know that the generations before them failed to take steps that would have prevented from reaching to this point. I am really sorry about that. I on behalf of my generation thank you for bringing new energy to the movement. The way you took ownership, planned strategies, changed the narrative is truly inspiring. As we all embark on this challenging journey, learn from our past. Make sure to include people from different background, Make sure this fight ends the evil of, racism, caste system, destroys patriarchy, that it includes children from all backgrounds, of all genders and all abilities. That everyone is represented equally and respected in this movement.
Build a movement which represents the diversity of our cultures and is equitable for everyone, create a role model that the world can follow. While you work hard to fight for climate justice, don’t forget there are millions of parents, grandparent, aunts, uncles and caregiver standing strongly behind you.
Here is a message from all of them to our world leaders.”
On March 15th, 2019, 1.6 million students from 125 countries and more than 2,000 cities marched to demand urgent and decisive actions against the climate crisis.
Climate change is accelerating far beyond what was expected even ten years ago, and we are currently letting it win the race. International, national and regional efforts have been on the way since the 1990s. However, our current path to reduce emissions, despite the Paris Agreement pledges, is completely off-track, with a level of effort which will need to be increased fivefold to stay below 1.5°C of warming. Worse, we are already at 1°C above pre-industrial levels, and on course for a world well over 3°C warmer for most of our children’s lifetime: far beyond what is considered safe.
What our kids are telling us is what science has been telling us for many years. There is no time left. Climate change is not a looming threat anymore. It is an existential crisis whose impact we are already feeling from extreme droughts in Honduras, destructive wildfires in California, and bleaching corals in Australia, to increasing intensity of typhoons in Philippines and the Pacific islands, historic heat waves in Japan and the recent tragic flooding in Mozambique. The United Nations expects 250 million to 1 billion climate refugees worldwide in the next 50 years. So every year 5 to 20 million people could lose their home if we do not stop climate change fast.
The global climate youth movement is doing the hardest part: standing up against the inertia of the current system to protect not only their future but ours as well! Our kids gave us the impulse. It is now our moral duty as adults to respond.
We, parents, grandparents, carers and all those who care about the next generation, stand with and for our kids. We stand with the scientific community, whose assessment of observed and projected future climate impacts call for immediate action. That is why we demand urgent and far more ambitious policies and measures in line with a future below 1.5°C of warming. That is why we demand that the Paris Agreement and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s special report on Global Warming of 1.5°C be followed. This not only means that we will have to eliminate our worldwide emissions to zero, but also that those reductions shall occur as quickly as possible. They should also be undertaken by countries on the basis of equity.
Our kids have bravely raised awareness and mobilized global public opinion to unprecedented levels. They have given us hope. We now owe it to them to act, for hope without action is wishful thinking. Willingly or not, together we are the last generations which can take on the challenge of stabilizing our climate and avoiding catastrophic climate change.
Momentum is building. However, it will only continue if we foster it with our actions. Supporting the students in their worldwide youth climate strike accomplished the first step. As caring parents and grandparents, we now need to lead and act with determination to ensure their safe future. As citizens, we need to give to their voices the power of our votes. As consumers, we need to make spending decisions that prioritize the environment.
Climate change will not simply go away if we refuse to look at it or continue to deny it. The climate will only stabilize if we support, advocate and ultimately vote for policies and candidates in line with the 1.5°C goal. The climate catastrophe can be prevented if we educate, inspire and enable more of us to act. We can succeed if we organize and mobilize at every level of society.
Parents! We are everywhere in society: in the classrooms as teachers, in the fields as farmers, in the factories as workers, in the hospitals as healers, in the boardrooms as CEOs, in the legislature as policymakers… We have the power to build this safe, just and clean future for our kids and for us all.
The containment of human-induced climate change must become the greatest achievement of this century. Together, we are ready.