By now, almost everybody knows Greta Thunberg, the 15 year old girl who has been protesting against Climate Change and for Climate Justice in front of the Swedish Parliament every Friday for the last 8 months. She is not going to school on Fridays because she feels our leaders and all of us are not doing enough to stop compromising the future of the coming generations. What is more important than that? As she says: ‘Our leaders are not mature enough to say things as they are, even that burden you leave to kids.’ ‘You say you love your children above all else, yet you are stealing their futures right before their very eyes’; tough as the truth.
Her action has rippled out into Fridays for Future, a movement that answers a collective longing that goes beyond individuals, age, race or political colour. The movement is anchored in unanimity by all serious scientific research plus the reliable observation of all who observe. From that ground, it’s bringing together people from all walks of life, even people who might have not been protesting publicly before; my own mother for example. She came to the 15M gathering because: ‘I love Nature.’ The movement is being able to unite us under that feeling, that very basic sense that Nature is more than resources, more than mere wealth to turn into money, the feeling that Nature’s destiny is our own, since we are closely interconnected; even more, we are part of It.
In 15th March the World made a small and big step towards a brighter future. Led by our youth, more than 1200 gatherings were held all over the world, with 1.6 million people attending!
The collective shout is one of Love for our only planet. People ask for ecological peace, sustainability, policy commitment, biodiversity protection, systemic change and on and on. And they not only ask, they also commit themselves to higher practices of Love for the Planet.
Our local gathering started with 10 minutes of silence to connect with our different purposes and the intention of serving the Earth. After that, few young friends shared words of recognition, words of love for Nature, words of grief and encouragement. Then we opened the mic up for anyone to share on those two main areas: political recognition and commitments. It’s not only the governments that have power to change things, although they have great responsibility, we also have our own power share. With our own acts and habits we are able to build tendencies and change, to set ripples in motion that might travel far and wide; It’s actually a ripple of a small action that brought all of us together in 15M, the ripple of a young girl going on strike for the planet…
SMALL ACTS, CHANGE THE WORLD
It was beautiful to listen to kids and youth committing to small acts that change the world: ‘I am always going to use bicycle’ shared a 5 year old girl in front of the 700+ of us. ‘Once a month I am not going to go to school, I am going to bring all my class here and protest for our planet!’ said a 7 year old! ‘I am going to take care of not spending more water than I need’, said another young lady.
When listening to Greta’s story and how her act of love has found her way into the World, it made me think of the story of an Indian young woman. Her village didn’t have water and the closest river was far away. She, alone, decided she had to do something. She started to dig a little canal. Next days people would laugh at her: ‘What are you doing? The village is so far away, you will never make it.’ And this went on day after day. After few days and few meters dug, seeing the girl’s commitment couple friends decided to join. After a week, more friends and family joined. After couple weeks, the entire village was supporting the project of bringing clean, running water to their village and finally the project was made possible. She led with example, honored the small, and sustained courage and commitment.
These three are principles that can be found in many social transformation stories, including Gandhi’s struggle or Mandela’s example and many other moments of human r-evolution towards Greater Good. But now we are in the age of Many to Many leaders, actually all of us are in a way leaders, all of our actions are more closely interrelated than ever before… And FFF, if sustained, can be a great example of this collective force for good, a force that transcends our differences and unites us in one voice.
AND MATURE LEADERS ARE NEEDED TOO…
As the micro, we also know that macro is important. As Gandhi exemplified: we need to carry a microscope and a telescope with us. Sometimes we lose great opportunities of service by being focused only on the macro level, and sometimes we renounce to change the systems because only the micro exists. Again, there has to be a balance of both.
A small country like Buthan is a precious example of what can be done when we choose concious and mature leaders. Buthan was the only country to commit to all the Paris Agreements for the Planet. They were the only ones who said: ‘we are going to be carbon neutral.’ And more than that, they are actually carbon negative, meaning they fix more greenhouse gases than they emit to our shared athmosphere. Their mature leaders have also give it all for clean energy, they have commited to mantain 60% of their land as forest, they have connected all National Parks so biodiversity can thrive etc. etc.
As Martin Luther King said: “Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love.” We need both, the small and the systemic.
A LOT TO CELEBRATE!
After the 15M a seasoned activist shared: ‘The emotions were expansive, a very new experience for me in the world of activism. I was touched by the inclusivity beyond age, beliefs and flags, the 40 diverse organizations that decided to support the movement, the manifesto that was signed by more than 100 teachers, the activation of local nets, the collaboration of local media…Youth were at the front of our gathering, but they were wise enough to listen to elders and elders were wise enough to give space to the youth. “
We all left the 15M historical gathering thinking that this is just the beginning, that we can push through and actually ignite greater change, if we stay together, keep supporting each other, keep recognizing and committing.
We are full of hope and pride for our youth, who are telling the things our current leaders are not mature enough to say, they are leading the way humbly and respectfully, including all of us in their shout of Wisdom.
The Burgos volunteers.
The only flag in our gathering!