Friday, March 15, 2019

Climate Change: The Youth Rebellion Goes Global

I remember something Andrew Nikiforuk, the well known environmental writer, wrote shortly after Donald Trump was elected president.

First he quoted Albert Camus:

“A man without ethics is a wild beast loosed upon this world.”

Which turned out to be true. Then he wrote this:

The Baby Boom generation, the most destructive and selfish generation in the history of the planet, has made its last political statement.

Which turned out to be wrong. At least until now.

For now it seems that a new generation is indeed coming to save the world. 

From Sydney to Seoul, Cape Town to New York, children skipped school en masse Friday to demand action on climate change. 

It was a stark display of the alarm of a generation. It was also a glimpse of the anger directed at older people who have not, in the protesters’ view, taken global warming seriously enough.

And although they are very young, with an estimated one MILLION school strikers all over the world, it was the biggest climate mobilization ever.

And a real show of force...

And I wouldn't fool with them, or the one who helped inspire them, 16-year-old Greta Thunberg... 

Because like so many of the others she has the determined look that comes from knowing that for them it's do or die.

I wish the boomer generation could have done more to fight climate change thirty or forty years ago, instead of being so shortsighted or so greedy. 

But at least, judging from this crowd of students in Montreal, they must surely know what they must do now...

Follow them, help them, or get out of the way.

For the new generation is on the march.

And NOBODY is going to stop them...


Jackie Blue said...

Those who are old enough absolutely MUST vote, and vote to keep right-wingers AWAY no matter what. Because guess what: the oil can Cons are going to show up at the ballots. The good guys need to outnumber them en masse.

I've been wondering lately, what's the likelihood of a possibility Trudeau and May (if she stops acting as a stooge for the Cons) could work together on a North American Green New Deal? Like an eco-NAFTA negotiated with members of a prospective (hoped for) Democratic administration in the US? All the more reason I want him to win (even if we have to settle for a minority government) and the filthy snake Scheer to be kept OUT!

I'm pleased to see that Greta Thunberg got a legitimate Nobel Peace Prize nomination. I say "legitimate" because Trump's supposed nod that he was touting from the Japanese PM, turned out to be a fraud just like everything else he is. Now he's got the police in Norway investigating. Tired of winning yet, Donnie?

Too bad the planet can't just shake certain parasites off its back.

Anonymous said...

Just what I need. Some dope telling me it's the boomer generation's fault that environmental destruction has occurred. It was the greed of the ultra rich, as usual, as always. Who actually stood up and protested the Vietnam war? Who started feminism and the revolt against old conservative ways including the hegemon of the Catholic chhurch and the revolting people who still run it? You think you're so flaming prescient that you can stand in judgement of a generation" You weren't there, you have no idea how repressed society was, and how much it was changed. What, you believe that the past was like Norman Rockwell paintings too? And that the boomers screwed it up? BS.

Give me a break, you fatuous nincompoop! If there is indeed a movement to bring some sanity to the way the world is being run for the benefit of the wealthy, it's being done on the shoulders of the boomers. Gen Y and the millenials sat on their hands and did SFA; then thought Hey! This world is crap! It must be the boomers fault! And that is about the extent of what those two gens have done - blame someone else for their not doing a damn thing for 30 years. It's not MY fault, etc. they whine. Look, our parents took all the good jobs, and other deep intellectual BS musings.

I don't feel any guilt for my generation. You lot should look in the mirror and see who the problem has been. People who couldn't even get off the couch to vote.

These scribblings make as much sense as the rest of your maunderings, you precious twit. I applaud the children of today. Now don't you take credit for what they're doing - you don't deserve it. When you were young, you did NOTHING. We did. Then it pretty much went dry for decades.


Jackie Blue said...

You really do sound like a bitter old crank, you know that? Your initials are pretty apt, B.M., because you're full of shit. Instead of bitching at Simon about his blog article or what the climate protesters are saying (correctly) about the "adults in the room," why don't you come up with some positive solutions or proposals for how to help the planet? Sunny ways, man...

Aren't you the dog-whistling homophobic asshole who said that Simon writes fondly of Trudeau because Trudeau is supposedly his "matinee idol"? Did you ever think that maybe it's because Trudeau is the only one who actually does have an approachable and positive demeanor, a genuine kindness about him and a friendly way of presenting himself, versus how the angry, unhinged DipperCons are doing "bullshit theater"? Now you're calling Simon a "precious twit"? What's your problem, seriously? Why do you even bother coming here except to argue? Are you a sockpuppet of another recently exiled troll?

Geez, dude, JT legalized weed. Smoke a bowl and chill out. Go do some yoga. Stop yelling. Stop bullying. It's not Canadian and it's not polite. It just makes you sound like Scheer Madness. If you're not going to stop then go away and take up knitting. Head up to Alert and take a walk in the snow.

John B. said...

I don’t know the ranges of birth years that delineate the more recent generational groupings as referenced in popular culture, so I can’t make a valid comment about the millennials, Y-gens, Xers or any of the others to which such monikers have been applied. I don’t reach conclusions easily, but if you were to ask me for a quick intuitive answer, I’d put it on the Pepsi Generation. It seems that everywhere I’ve gone in life those arrogant fuckers had got there before me and were running everything. As boomers, we’ve seldom been able to budge them and never till they’ve had their fill. If there are too many you and you all got there last, lineups can awful hard to crack. But okay, we’ll take the shit for whatever is pissing everybody and anybody else off. We’re used to it.

Anonymous said...

"I wish the boomer generation could have done more to fight climate change thirty or forty years ago, instead of being so shortsighted or so greedy."

I wish we could have to, Simon. Had we known the extent of the problem. The greedy 1% certainly knew and kept their dark little secret quiet until it became front page news in 1988.
Even then, it was generally dismissed by all forms of government at the behest of the biggest polluters and I frankly can't recall it becoming a serious part of the conversation until a decade later. As the internet grew, so did awareness and so did the calls for action.
It is heartening to see our young citizens from around our tortured globe fighting to save it. We cant change the mistakes of the past but we can change the so called leaders of the world who deserve the bulk of the blame for allowing it to continue while risking our future for nothing other than pure greed.

lagatta à montréal said...

I don't agree with his insults, but he is right to criticise generational analysis. It is normal for the young of any generation to be more active as they have more freedom to take action. I was always mobilised against war, for women's rights and yes, for the environment - we founded Le Monde à bicyclette in 1974 to fight the domination of the private car and promote safer conditions to cycle and walk, as well as expansion and improvement of public transport.

And I was on the demo here in Montréal yesterday - keeping up with youth is good exercise!

Simon said...

Hi Jackie...I am more optimistic than I ever have been that humanity is finally going to get serious about tackling climate change. Those very young activists make me believe that we have finally arrived at a turning point. And yes I do hope that Greta Thunberg is awarded the Nobel Prize because she has inspired so many an throughly deserves it....

Simon said...

Hi BM...What is wrong with you? Why do you always come off like some grumpy old Con sitting on his porch waving his fist at passing cars. My post is not an attack on boomers who Everybody knows I love, especially their music. The only reason I included that quote from the boomer Andrew Nikiforuk is because I wanted to draw a contrast between his negativity, and the positivity and determination of the new and amazing generation. But of course that sailed right over your head you obstreperous baboon. Kindly take a Valium, or have a huge joint, or repeat like Alan Ginsburg used to chant "Om Om Om," before you have a stroke. And if you still can't calm down please don't bother to come back...

Anonymous said...

Fortunately every generation has its activists and, unfortunately, every generation has its greedy SOB’s.


Simon said...

Hi I told BM I'm not trying to piss off the boomers or any other generation. I have made it clear that we will only be able to change the world if all progressives of any age work together. And goodness knows that the millennials are blamed for everything by everyone. I am curious why we didn't begin the war on climate change earlier, but since I have no idea what was going on then, I am no position to judge anybody. So for now I am just going to have to take your advice and blame it on the Pepsi Generation....😉

Simon said...

Hi Jackie...I had forgotten that BM had accused me of being in love with Justin Trudeau in a post that reeked of homophobia. Had I remembered that I probably would have hit the delete button immediately. But I have been abused by old Cons like him before, even while trying to take care of them, so what they say goes in one ear and out the other, and I usually end up smiling and shaking my head....🙄

Anonymous said...

You are correct, the boomers were in fact short sighted thirty or forty years ago. We weren't that concerned with a problem that might affect our children or grandchildren, something that even today has its uncertainties. Will the ice caps really melt? Will the positive feedback of methane released by permafrost melting and changed albedo dominate or will it be countered by some negative feedback as yet not well known? I believe we should accelerate research into renewables and we are likely one breakthrough away from reaching a point where the avalanche effect replaces half the cars with electrics in a few years.

But for the boomers, the more pressing worry was sometimes expressed listening to music on vinyl albums. Every time I let the needle down onto a record, I thought of the Soviets launching a pre-emptive nuclear attack at that moment. Unlike the current fears of nuclear terrorism where a handful on nukes (Kim's entire arsenal) goes off, they might launch 3000 of them, saving another 7000 in reserve. Every city of 50,000 people or more was believed to have a 100 kiloton bomb with its name on it. When getting up to turn the record over, the needle drop would coincide with us launching a retaliatory strike. At the end side 2 I would look out the window to see if I could see flashes and mushroom clouds in the distance.

You think climate change will cause a lot of problems? I am not really as concerned. Humanity will survive complete with a functioning civilization under all scenarios unless it triggers the above. For the nuclear war case, just read "On The Beach" to see how the radioactive clouds eventually take us back, not to the Space Age, not the Steam Age, not the Iron Age, not the Bronze Age, and not even stopping at the Stone Age. Instead the 6th great extinction might just wipe out all life more advanced than cockroaches.

Anonymous said...

I'll start by saying I think it's telling that that comment got you so upset. It's one thing to disagree with generational analysis (it can get overly broad), but this kind of tantrum sounds like it's more out of guilt than critique.

Regardless, I am one of the people out there that do aim my blame-thrower that broadly, and I'll explain why, keeping firmly in mind that there is undoubtedly a class dimension to this discussion. If history ended in 1969, the Boomer generation would have plenty to be proud of for what was achieved (noting much of the work for those gains came from women and minorities). But history didn't end in 1969; the counter-revolution that followed in the 1970s, the crushing weight of capitalism and the loss of faith in institutions seemed to traumatize the Boomers sufficiently that they fled to the suburbs to raise their kids, voted for Reagan and Mulroney and just started to consume, consume, consume, all the while voting for anybody who let them continue consuming guilt-free. To repeat, there's class, race and gender dimensions, but broadly, this was the trend that brought us to this point, and it's borne out on electoral maps. Cities, where the younger people live and work with newly-arrived Canadians, are often far more progressive than the outlying suburbs.

What I find obnoxious is that like BM, Boomers will be the first to remind you of how awesome they were 50+ years ago. I wouldn't be content to rest on laurels from that long ago, but that's just me. But a lot has happened between 1969 and 2019, not all of it for the better.

And just to be equal-opportunity, there's plenty to say about Gen X and how their cynicism was so quickly co-opted by capital and how it's had an impact on millennials, many of whom have been trained by the internet to be all about developing their own brand and clamouring for eyeballs on that brand. I wish they were more engaged, but given how much is placed upon their shoulders, I can't blame them for being weary of politics. They need to get over it, and fast, but it would be nice if the older generations didn't put their own comfort first on the list of priorities.