Open Letter to YOU

We, the young, are deeply concerned about our future. Humanity is currently causing the sixth mass extinction of species and the global climate system is at the brink of a catastrophic crisis. Its devastating impacts are already felt by millions of people around the globe. Yet we are far from reaching the goals of the Paris agreement.

Young people make up more than half of the global population. Our generation grew up with the climate crisis and we will have to deal with it for the rest of our lives. Despite that fact, most of us are not included in the local and global decision-making process. We are the voiceless future of humanity.

We will no longer accept this injustice. We demand justice for all past, current and future victims of the climate crisis, and so we are rising up. Thousands of us have taken to the streets in the past weeks all around the world. Now we will make our voices heard. On 15 March, we will protest on every continent.

We finally need to treat the climate crisis as a crisis. It is the biggest threat in human history and we will not accept the world’s decision-makers’ inaction that threatens our entire civilisation. We will not accept a life in fear and devastation. We have the right to live our dreams and hopes. Climate change is already happening. People did die, are dying and will die because of it, but we can and will stop this madness.

We, the young, have started to move. We are going to change the fate of humanity, whether you like it or not. United we will rise until we see climate justice. We demand the world’s decision-makers take responsibility and solve this crisis.

You have failed us in the past. If you continue failing us in the future, we, the young people, will make change happen by ourselves. The youth of this world has started to move and we will not rest again.

The global coordination group of the youth-led climate strike

17 responses to “Open Letter to YOU

  1. The Ides of March! We have far too many oligarchic ‘Caesars’ in control of our lives and economy who have proven unsusceptible to reason, and have put our future at dire risk. It’s unrealistic, I suppose, to think that they will roll over now.

    Still, this is a hopeful development. Let’s put a different spin on another well-worn Latinism: “carpe diem.” Let’s give the kids all the support we can.

  2. Good luck to the young people.
    I hope their voice is loud and clear. And effective.

  3. Maybe this time the push will be great enough. There was momentum that was building around 2006, but got stifled by the shift in control of the House of Representatives in 2010. Obama’s highest priority was national health care, which in passing unfortunately buried climate mitigation for a decade.

  4. some words from Frederick Douglass: “The whole history of the progress of human liberty shows that all concessions yet made to her august claims have been born of earnest struggle. The conflict has been exciting, agitating, all-absorbing, and for the time being, putting all other tumults to silence. It must do this or it does nothing. If there is no struggle there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and yet deprecate agitation are men who want crops without plowing up the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters.

    This struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, and it may be both moral and physical, but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.”

  5. It is a profound failure of those holding positions of trust and responsibility that it takes protest and mobilisation of public opinion for them to uphold that trust and responsibility.

    It looked to me that this issue was deliberately thrown back to the public by such people, avoiding having to make difficult decisions in the face of self-interested and powerful opposition – thrown back to the public in the certainty that apathy, ignorance and short term self interest would prevent any kind of clear “will of the public” demanding real action from emerging. Now that truth is catching up with the lies the same people push the line that the public is being manipulated and drawn into their climate concerns as an unthinking, faddish fashion! The hypocrisy is breathtaking.

    The seriousness of what is happening to our climate is beyond the scope of most people, caught up in their immediate concerns, to truly appreciate – which makes the capablities of our institutions and leadership more crucial to this, not less.

  6. As I read this letter one thought came to the fore – the future generations need to stop being supplicants to the current leadership, and start telling them what they will do when they succeed these leaders. And the new generations should go all Soylent on the old guard…

    The young people of today should explicitly spell out their intention to seek m,aximum redress for the delay and dissemblances of current governments, businesses, and policy makers. The young people of today should let the old guard know that their unethically-derived wealth will be confiscated for the benefit of salvaging something for the future. The young people of today should let the old guard know that they will be imprisoned for crimes against humanity, and for environmental destruction, and the penalty will be life without parole.

    The young people of today have one inviolable advantage – they are the future. And they should make it clear that they will use this advantage to punish those who think that they can escape the future. Nothing motivates the current crop of rulers other than their self-interest, and it is this self-interest that must be leveraged and turned back on themselves in no uncertain terms so that their responsibility to the future becomes inescapable.

    The motto should be “Give us a future in which we can live, or your future will be one in which you will wish that you are not alive.”

    • Yes, I’m angry, and excrutiatingly frustrated. I’ve just suffered through an autumn day that beat all records for summer heat in my local area. I recall a day at the same time of year, thirty years ago, when I stood on a train platform 1,000 km closer to the equator and shivered in the refrigerator temperature of a blustering rain-driving wind, waiting to go to my first day of a new job. ANd that day was not in any way an exception for the time…

      The extremes we are experiencing today are not just weather events, but demonstrate the underlying signature of climate change, and they are carrying us to a point of systems failure. If we don’t properly confront our own policy failures, now the systems that fail will be the ones that allow us to survive in the first place…

  7. “ The level of fossil fuel consumption globally is now roughly five times higher than in the 1950s, and one-and-half times higher than in the 1980s, when the science of global warming was confirmed and governments accepted the need to act on it. This is a central feature of the “great acceleration” of human impacts on the natural world. . . .
    CO2 emissions are 55% higher today than in 1990. Despite 20 international conferences on fossil fuel use reduction and an international treaty that entered into force in 1994, man made greenhouse gases have risen inexorably.”

    Click to access pirani-helsinki-wern2018-paper.pdf

    • …and governments accepted the need to act on it.

      Some governments accepted the need. By general agreement, all developing nations–including China, which is of course now the world’s leading emitter–were exempted as a matter of fairness (not to mention political practicality). The US, despite having been a major player in the Kyoto negotiations, never put the treaty to a ratification vote. Canada ratified, but never put in place meaningful implementation measures, and thanks to the burgeoning of the oil sands operations, experienced a a surge in emissions amounting to (IIRC) ~30%.

      In my view, the statement that ‘governments accepted the need to act’ only really came true in 2015 (and once again the US is proving problematic, despite having been a major party to the negotiations).

  8. Monroe Hunsicker

    In my opinion the sun is the driver of earths climate, not CO2. Using kids for an adult agenda is fine but they will eventually wake up………so cover your tracks if your adult cause is self serving or not honorable.

    [Response: Is “cover your tracks” some sort of veiled threat?]

    • Thank you, Monroe, for the ignorant, unintelligent opinion you pulled out of your capacious anal cavity (I assume it is capacious, as otherwise it would be uncomfortable for your head to spend so much time there).

    • In my opinion, your opinion is worthless.

      Now, which opinion is better? And how do we decide?

    • Philippe Chantreau

      Your opinion is just that. Opinions do not have validity by virtue of their existence. Some people hold the opinion that the Earth is flat. It’s their opinion and by golly they’re entitled to it…

    • John Brookes

      Oh dear. It is not that hard, so lets explain. The Earth’s climate depends absolutely crucially on the sun. Take it away and we’d be kind of cold. So well done, you’ve got one thing right. But then you seem to drift off course a bit. The Earth’s climate doesn’t *only* depend on the sun, but on water, CO2, the distribution of land on Earth, the tilt of Earth’s axis, the mass of the Earth (because that keeps our atmosphere here) and lots of other things. If you’d like a simple world where everything just has one cause, maybe stick to reading cheap fiction, and leave the grown ups to concern themselves with actually understanding stuff.

    • Martin Smith

      Think of it this way: The sun drives earth’s basic global average temperature, which had been stable for quite a long time because the sun’s output was pretty much stable for all that time, within a small range. CO2 is not driving that basic global average temperature but the CHANGE in the basic global average temperature. That is, the change in CO2 the human race has added to the atmosphere is driving the change in the global average temperature.

  9. Let me put it this way, Monroe. Earth and Moon are the same distance and receive basically the same radiation from the Sun. If we didn’t have an atmosphere on Earth, we would be just like the Moon. And since the 99% of the atmosphere composed of nitrogen and oxygen is transparent to both solar and terrestrial for the most part, the 1% of the atmosphere that contains the so-called greenhouse gases (water vapor, methane, carbon dioxide, and nitrous oxide) is all that keeps Earth’s average temperature at around 14C (58F) rather than -18C (0F). Just thought you’d like to know and maybe change your opinion based on ignorance or ideology or some combination of both.