I originally posted this to my fb blog on May 23. The day before the last global strike on #fridaysforfuture. But with growing interest from adults and school students and other youth from various organisations wanting to support the global strikes and other events on #fridaysforfuture I wanted to make a more sharable version. Some of the ideas here might help school strikers clarify frameworks for how adults and those new to the movement can support, and may also help larger organisations respectfully acknowledge the efforts of school strikers and the many #forfuture groups and individuals who are helping the grassroots #fridaysforfuture movement thrive. So here you go:
Dear amazing Australian school strike students, I will be striking for climate on May 24. Even though you are not. Here is why, as best as I can explain.
I RSVP’d to the local Brisbane “global strike 4 climate” not thinking that it could be construed as a negative thing. It’s since been renamed as a rally and I feel a bit sad.
Fridays for Future, which Greta Thunberg inspired, is, internationally, a people’s movement. It’s youth-led but adults can help in many ways and are invited to and welcome to strike as well. Not from school unless they are students. But from work, and just from life. And adults across the world are invited to organise their own strikes in support of and solidarity with the students. https://fridaysforfuture.org/about
Personally, I’ve been doing some form of #climatestrike support since September 2018, well before the school strikes in Australia exploded and changed the world. And in many places, adults start #fridaysforfuture strikes which then take off once students join. That didn’t happen here, the student strikes went massive all on their own, but that’s what has happened overseas.
Internationally, #fridaysforfuture and #climatestrike can be done by anyone but only students can do #schoolstrike4climate/#schoolstrike and anyone doing #FridaysForFuture implicitly supports students’ right to strike for their liveable world.
But I would also argue that there may be students who are not involved directly with the official Australian #ss4c group and perhaps they are happily entitled to used #schoolstrike and #schoolstrike4climate because Greta does call on everyone to rise us, and while you all led this movement in Australia, there may be students who strike without being part of an organised group who can still take their own initiative as this global movement/idea continues to build momentum. We need everyone, so it’s worth contemplating how this can work.
I’ve been here and helping in my small way for a while. Here I am with my kids on September 8, the day after Greta let the world know she would continue her strike, but only on Fridays:
One of the first families in the world to support Greta’s school strike was here in Brisbane on September 21: https://www.instagram.com/p/Bn-rzwZnKk9/?fbclid=IwAR00L3g-Q2qjvui0FUIA44B2ik5Kfcr7Rcl9NFe9P-MovHqpBYfrwnEcxS4
And here’s the #fridaysforfuture superhero cape I made to wear to daycare pickup and drop off to support Greta’s strike and try to wake up my friends to the climate emergency.
I truly think the Australian school strikes did change the world, because before the Australian school strike on November 30th 2018, all the #fridaysforfuture strikes like my adult-led one in Brisbane, Australia were small. And before that first big Australian school strike I tried to figure out how to talk to kids about climate, only to realise that a lot of them already knew all about it when you first all stood on the streets with your amazing signs!
But this movement, this chance to witness the growth of students as leaders, the connection and love from the community coming towards people young and old across the world, has inspired me. And I have helped where I can, amplifying youth voices on twitter, sharing a few contacts I have overseas to help school strikers across the waves connect.
My own group Australian Parents for Climate Action came together with other parents groups across the world and formed a collective of #parentsforfuture groups – who see that one of our activities is to stand in solidarity with, to support school strikes, and attend #schoolstrike4climate events with our kids.
Did you know there are #scientistsforfuture, #doctorsforfuture, #workersforfuture groups and other similar groups trying to connect and support greater climate action, and support school strikers across the world?
We make sure that when we engage in SS4C and FridaysForFuture events that we let the students speak for themselves, we amplify the voices of students, and don’t seek the limelight. The students are the face of the movement and the ones invited to speak at the UN, while adults supporters help where we can.
Here in Australia, supporting the youth means keeping out of their way. I stay out of your organising space to make sure I don’t interfere with the decisions young people make. But when I do have questions, to check I am not overstepping, its hard to reach you. You are volunteer run so I try your email and your fb group and try to I reach the right people. I try to follow the guidelines you have listed on your website. https://www.schoolstrike4climate.com/bl…/how-can-you-help-us
I could understand there being an issue if the SS4C logo or branding was used. But to me the global strike 4 climate imagery and idea looked like it was for everyone. Another initiative that was connected to Greta but that anyone could be part of. Just like the group @Persistent Presence (https://www.facebook.com/groups/persistentpresence/) does small adult-led #fridaysforfuture climate strikes.
I am not organising the local global strike 4 climate event tomorrow (which has now been renamed as a rally out of respect for your requests, clearly) but I did offer to speak at it. Because to me it seems like high time for the adults to rise up too.
I can’t imagine the organisers of this/these adults-led events are going to detract from the voice of youth. How could anyone? We don’t have your moral authority. We haven’t brought 15,000 amazing students to the streets in November 2018 and 150,000 students and supporters in March 2019. But we do want to come together to make change.
I agree, because for some reason these events are bigger than any I have organised, perhaps the organisers could have checked in with you better, to make sure they weren’t overstepping. But I think the adults, like me, are just so keen to step up now. To cope with our own hopes to protect the world, to connect with the other people that SS4C and now XR are waking up to the climate crisis.
But I have been having these conversations over and over again in little on line forums internationally, and with local SS4C organisers over recent months, about how adults can continue to be part of the powerful FFF movement, while respecting the voices of students as leaders. So I just thought I would post my thoughts here. And yes, please do feel free to disagree with me. You are a force to be reckoned with and I am doing my best. Thank you to the local school strikers for inviting me to launch our Australian Parents for Climate Action Group#givethekidsyourvote campaign at your last big event on May 3.
Anyway, the event I am attending tomorrow, has respectfully changed their name in deference to your wishes. But I hope you know that people are not trying to ride on the coat tails of your movement. We are trying to find the others to help us rise up to make change, to help protect the future for you, and for us. And we have been here. helping in our small ways.
We don’t want students to have to strike from school. We want them to to class. And learn what they need for their future. But until we see the world on a safe pathway in line with their demands (In Australia this means #stopadani, 100% renewables by 2030 and no new fossil fuel projects) we support their right to strike and stand in solidarity with them. I do believe its time for more adults to step out of their comfort zone and strike, speak, act, make, live for climate action too.
With love and respect.