Friday’s Global Climate Strike

September 17, 2019

Faith & Action, Uncategorized

global climate strike

Activists are gearing up for the world-wide climate strike scheduled for Friday, September 20th, and they’re summoning leaders to play their role — faith leaders included.

Millions are being urged to walk off their jobs and out of their classrooms in anticipation of the United Nations Climate Action Summit on September 23. The idea was inspired by a 16-year-old Swedish student, Greta Thunberg, who began skipping her Friday classes so she could protest outside her nation’s parliament in Stockholm. She’s slated to lead a demonstration in New York City’s Foley Square on that day.

Naturally, news of this event has swept the internet. The Global Climate Strike website features a searchable map for events throughout the world, and there’s a “Toolkit” for faith leaders with savvy social media advice, a checklist, an outreach template, a church leader sign up sheet, and proposals for sermons and testimonies.

Also naturally, the scheduled protests have spawned controversy. One curious criticism comes from Professor Pete Dobson, a 76-year-old climate scientist who is developing technology to reduce greenhouse emissions. He fears a work-hampering city-wide shut down: “If the planned strike does cause disruption, it will destroy the chance of some of our team getting investment to tackle global climate issues. One of our investors who is supporting us to develop carbon emission-elimination technology may now call off a visit to Oxford on Friday. We will lose at least a few million pounds that could have gone towards saving the planet.”

How about rescheduling the meeting, professor?

A more serious concern involves the tone of some of the protest calls: Elders should “finally” join the kids and get involved. First, that’s misleading and gives the impression that anyone bearing the non-millennial tag has been a slouch. In fact, many environmental leaders sprout gray hair and have been at it for decades. Second, anointing kids as the leaders may convey that climate change isn’t serious, so let the young ‘uns handle it.

Wrong. Climate change is the most important material issue facing civilization, and it’s all hands on deck. Teens, college students, mothers, fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers should be out there on Friday — and pastors can urge their flocks to get beyond their church walls.

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About Charles Redfern

Charles Redfern is a writer, activist, and clergyman living in Connecticut with his wife and family. He's currently writing two books, with more in his head.

View all posts by Charles Redfern

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  1. Faith Leader Statements on Climate Change | The Alternative Mainstream - September 18, 2019

    […] feel compelled to repeat yesterday’s caution: All this youth emphasis may backfire. Vesting our hopes in “the kids” conveys that […]

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