Parent-Child Climate Conversations
HOW CAN PARENTS SUPPORT YOUTH?
TALK TO YOUR KIDS
There are many ways to talk to your kids! You could simply inform them of the strike, start a class conversation about climate change, or show a video about climate change. You could educate them more specifically on the youth climate movement if they aren't already involved.
You can also tell them how you feel about the climate crisis, and ask them how they feel. As parent activists, we know that our stories and connections make our movement strong. Many of us feel isolated as we fight this crisis, but talking openly and honestly about how we feel and why we are taking action strengthens the intergenerational movement.
VIDEOS EXPLAINING THE STRIKES
On September 20th, 2019, students and adult allies everywhere will go on strike and demand action on the climate crisis.
- Video about Greta Thunberg, Swedish activist: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uRgJ-22S_Rs
Greta Thunberg Ted Talk:
Greta Thunberg 1975 “song:”
- School Strike Wikipedia overview: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/School_strike_for_climate
SUPPORT YOUR KIDS TO JOIN A STRIKE
Advocate for your kids and their classmates to attend a local strike!
Help kids communicate with your school administration — offer to facilitate conversations between students, staff and teachers about how important these actions are and their educational value.
Let your kids know that you are with them, and that you are willing to support them if they are faced with backlash.
Volunteer to make the strike into a field trip!
Parents can also work with teachers to take your students to the strike as a field trip. This would help your students avoid punishment while still fighting for the cause.
Ask teachers not to assign major assignments during the week of action
Some teachers across the country are taking this No Major Assignments Pledge (bit.ly/teacher_pledge). The pledge says that teachers will not plan or assign any major tests or projects on the day of the strike and that students will not suffer academically if they miss class for the strike. Parents can ask teachers if they are willing to make a similar commitment.
Medical Excuse Note
Medical professionals are also working support the global youth climate strikes happening. Some are sharing a “Medical Excuse Note” (https://docs.google.com/document/d/e/2PACX-1vRrYAIWxxB7VnZLWEOXMEcA1YmfPqAE1mTtD7hWGeo-EHFq09Qogpk5f4hE289XHjZ9nZoWrZ-7DiHr/pub) that clinicians can sign.
The note “excuses" students from class due to the climate-health emergency. Students will be able to print it out, but more importantly, the alliance will do a media push to show solidarity with the students and raise awareness that climate change is first and foremost a health crisis that disproportionately harms children and youth.
FOLLOWING YOUTH LEADERSHIP
The September 20th Climate Walkout is expected to be the world’s largest ever climate mobilization. The call for the Climate Walkout was issued in The Guardian article Young People have led the climate strikes. Now we need adults to join us too. A number of climate movement leaders in the United States, including 350.org Board members Naomi Klein and Bill McKibben, wrote in response: We’re stepping up -- join us for a day to halt the climate crisis.
Given the extraordinary youth leadership that has led to the September 20th Climate Walkout, it is essential that their parents honor this hard work and works in collaboration with youth groups in their community.
YOUTH COALITION DEMANDS:
- A Green New Deal that immediately halts all new fossil fuel projects and transitions our economy to 100% renewable energy by 2030.
- Respect of Indigenous lands and sovereignty — the US government must halt all resource extraction on or affecting Indigenous lands, and recognize the Rights of Nature into law.
- Environmental justice for communities on the frontlines of poverty and pollution, and sanctuary for all migrants.
- Protect and restore 50% of the world’s lands and oceans; stop all deforestation by 2030.
- Invest in sustainable agriculture, not agribusiness.
We know what we’re asking for goes beyond the scope of what’s been achieved so far, but that’s precisely why we’re demanding it. We have just 11 years left to cut global emissions in half, and to do that, we need to work together to make these demands a reality.
Three of the major youth groups in the United States are Fridays for Future USA, US Youth Climate Strike and the Sunrise Movement. Contact details for these youth-led organizations:
- Fridays for Future: https://www.fridaysforfuture.org/about
- US Climate Strike: https://www.youthclimatestrikeus.org/contact
- Sunrise Movement: https://www.sunrisemovement.org/hubs
Please reach out to these groups if they exist in your community! If you need help connecting with local youth groups, contact the Future Coalition at [email protected].
For more on Youth Leadership, please read:
- The Guardian, Climate Crisis and a Betrayed Generation by the Global Strike Coordination Group
- The Guardian, Young People have led the climate strikes. Now we need adults to join us too by Greta Thunberg and 46 other youth activists
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