Today is Sunday, and I feel grateful for the life I live! Excited and very appreciative! What a fantastic time it is to be alive! There is a lot of wonder and hope and energy out there! I feel it and I am it and it gives me shortness of breath. Dare I say how happy I am to be alive when there are so many serious planetary issues that need our attention?
There is no doubt that the world is more complicated than when I was a child. I am in my early forties, so my childhood was not more than 3 decades ago, but in those thirty years, we have seen so much change. Wifi is vital for most day to day tasks, chefs are now celebrities, we don’t carry water through security anymore, same-sex marriage is legal, anyone can be a CEO, producer or star, and superstorms, monsoon flooding and extreme weather is commonplace. Are we numbing to change because change is all around us all the time? Have some of us just stopped thinking critically because we are too tired or too distracted to engage?
It seems the youngest amongst us are still innately connected to their custodial responsibility for all of Earth’s creatures, it’s oceans and it’s resources.
Children and youth seem to be aware of the ever-changing world we live in, and they seem to be adapting at the same time they are sensitive to a call to action. Their call to leadership! This inspires me and makes me happy, hopeful and grateful for these lightworkers who step up to challenge our politicians, our way of life and our laziness.
Last Friday afternoon my husband and I attended a rally in a neighboring town, with our two children. The International School Strike for the Environment. This event was sparked by Greta Thunberg, a Swedish girl you have probably heard of by now. But if you haven’t, I will quickly bring you up to speed.
Greta Thunberg stood outside of the Swedish parliament for the first time August 20th, 2018. She stood alone with her sign “school strike for the environment” and her ideas about a dialog for change and action. Greta is not afraid to tell it like it is and her word choice cuts to the heart of the matter and to the heart of the people who listen because this 16-year-old girl is right about the severity of the impacts of climate change. She wants us to be moved; not to be full of hope but to be in a full-blown panic and act accordingly. Since August of last year, she has inspired many movements among them the event we attended last Friday.
Nationally here in Norway, March 22nd was deemed to be the day to strike. Children all across Norway choose not to attend school but to show up with their physical body and their voice demonstrating they care about this planet and that they are fed up. My own children had many questions before they decided that they would attend the rally. As parents, my husband and I agree it is important to raise them to develop a voice that is unafraid to stand alone as Greta has done. That it is intelligent to ask questions concerning how we do things and even more importantly why.
Three young women stood out for me last Friday afternoon. Their names are Yme Korshavn, Ella Ingrid Persson Ringborg, and Ylva Kvalø-Hamann. They spoke, they organized, they supported each other, they lead, they marched and they inspired the hundreds of attendees in the square that day. Nationally over 40 thousand children attended this environmental demonstration making it the largest of it’s kind in Norwegian history.
For these three women and the members of Natur og Ungdom, an environmental organization run by youth, it does not stop here. It does not stop now! They are raising awareness. They are protesting the dumping of mining waste into fjords, organizing clothing swaps, and encouraging the three R’s I remember from my childhood. Re-use it. Re-cycle it and if you don’t need it Re-duce your consumption. Local as well as national events bring community together while giving everyone a chance to have their say, be heard and inspire action.
Most recently I learned that fast fashion and the textile trade is not only guilty of unethically cutting corners on wages in order to increase profit, they also have been guilty of child labor and polluting the local environment by dumping dyes and materials in nearby waterways. With conscious consumerism of textiles, there are many things to be aware of such as genetically modified seeds and pesticide use, as well as deforestation to grow more cotton.
Although there are enormous challenges ahead, there are people - let’s call them lightworkers - that are organizing and shaping our collective future. They have big hearts and quick minds, but like us, they only have two hands. So we must work together to create the change we want to see now and for generations to come.
Here are my top 5 ways to contribute to sustainable living.
1. Vote with your purchasing power. Support what you want to see more of; whether that means thrift shopping, buying organic, or bringing water bottles and reusable cups with you - put your money where your grey matter is and choose wisely.
2. Cut down on your garbage by bringing your own bags to the grocer and the farmers market.
3. Budget out how often you fly, drive and or use public transport. Reduce emissions by biking! There is green transport, and it will improve your fitness as well as your carbon-footprint.
4. Go vegan!
5. Vote for the politicians that give a f@ck! We need people who are thinking outside the box to listen and create innovation shoulder to shoulder with the next generations.