September 11, 2019 — Over the past year, Fridays for Future, a global student movement started by Swedish student Greta Thunberg, has grown to include hundreds of thousands of students around the globe. Now, the movement is inviting others to join with them in a series of actions during the week of September 20-27, 2019, culminating in an Earth Strike on Friday, September 27.
Imagine what might happen if people from all walks of life put aside their work and commitments for one day to join a massive protest calling for urgent and comprehensive action to curb greenhouse gas emissions globally by 45% by 2030 – the minimum cut that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says is necessary to keep warming below the 1.5 C threshold and prevent catastrophic consequences.
Why is this important?
As Pope Francis reminds us, the ecological crisis may be the most pressing challenge facing humanity: “Our sister Earth, along with all the abandoned of our world,” cries out and pleads “that we take another course” (LS 53). More recently, on September 1, the Pope released a message to inaugurate the Season of Creation (running to October 4) noting that “many young people all over the world are making their voices heard and calling for courageous decisions” and that this is the time “for undertaking prophetic actions.”
Like the multitudes of youth rising up in protest, we believe that we need to send a strong message to leaders in Canada and around the world that the time for meaningful action is now. The Jesuit Forum therefore urges you to take part in the strike on September 27, to spread the word to all you know, and to find ways to support students in your local community during the September 20-27 week of action.
How can I get involved?
Actions are being organised across Canada and around the world.
Here are some suggestions for supporting the strike at a local level:
What are some of the key demands of the students striking for climate action?
Students from Fridays for Future and Climate Strike Canada are calling for:
Climate Strike Canada also endorses a Canadian Green New Deal, something the Jesuit Forum will examine in more detail in our upcoming issue of Open Space.
As Climate Strike Canada notes, “we are at a crossroads in the history of humanity, and the action we do or don’t take will determine the future of civilisation,” and indeed the future of much of life on the beautiful planet we call our home. At the same time, the movement seeks to “confront the scale of this crisis, and create a better world, by representing youth across Canada and cultivating a culture of compassion.”
In rising up to call for action, these youth recognise the link between sustainability and social justice, noting that “climate justice is about more than greenhouse gas emissions: it’s about workers’ rights and economic justice. It’s about the rights of Indigenous peoples and migrants. It’s about anti-racism and social justice. Each battle is entangled within another, and victory is only possible if we fight all of them as a unified entity.”
We believe in “following the energy,” reading the signs of the times, and nurturing the seeds of transformation where they emerge. We see tremendous commitment and dedication in the youth striking, not only for their future, but the future of the entire Earth community. We urge you to join usin supporting this movement however you may.