School strike for climate

This sign made me laugh (it might be a generation thing). Credit: this tweet.

I thought I would try to briefly write about today’s school strike for climate. I mostly think this is a really good thing. I don’t think we should be relying on school children. I don’t think that school children should be sacrificising their education to send this kind of message. However, a few days off school is unlikely to do much harm, and it certainly seems to be sending a pretty strong message, and is being noticed. It’s also illustrates how something that starts small, can snowball and have a substantial impact.

One unfortunate side-effect (in my case at least) of engaging in the rough and tumble of the online climate debate is that it can leave you feeling somewhat jaded, and a little battered. Even though I think the school strike for climate is a good thing, I do find it hard to get too enthusiastic. I’m also well aware that it’s easy to say that we should be getting emissions to ~zero, but much harder to decide how we should do so, and even harder to actually do so. There are many factors to consider. Climate change could clearly have severely negative impacts if we don’t start doing something to reduce emissions soon. On the other hand, we also have to be aware that people could also suffer if we aren’t careful about how we go about reducing emissions. It’s not simple, or easy.

However, putting all that to one side, school children are telling us that we should take this issue seriously. I agree.

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42 Responses to School strike for climate

  1. As an aside, I watched some of the Congressional hearing about climate science and why it matters, and it was mostly a very good example of the kind of discussions we should be having. The Republicans called Joseph Majkut, who is Director of Climate Policy at the Niskanen Centre. He’s very well-informed and a far cry from the people that Republicans typically call to give evidence. I was really very impressed by what I saw of the Hearing. In my view, we need more of this.

  2. Rachel M says:

    I’m also well aware that it’s easy to say that we should be getting emissions to ~zero, but much harder to decide how we should do so, and even harder to actually do so.

    This is exactly why we need to move on from the denial that pains me to see still exists and have discussions about how to zero our emissions. There is a debate to be had about how to do it but not about whether the climate is warming or if we’re the cause, both of which are true.

  3. Rachel,

    There is a debate to be had about how to do it but not about whether the climate is warming or if we’re the cause, both of which are true.

    Absolutely. It’s one reason I was quite impressed by the Congressional Hearing I linked to in the first comment. Most of what I listened to involved discussions about what we should do, what are the benefits of acting, what are the risks, etc. There was one part where the questioner seemed to be disputing AGW, but it mostly seemed to be discussions about what should be done, not whether or not we should be doing anything. Maybe it was a fluke, but I hope not.

  4. anoilman says:

    Anders.. This generation is very different from previous ones. I heard an interesting story about the kids from the Parkland shooting in the US. They’ve been very very busy trying to get gun controls in place all over the US. Only… no one is pulling their strings, its all them. They are media savvy, organized, understand how to present themselves, and run a media circus.

    Its our generation that’s not getting the new world. Top down control isn’t working anymore.

  5. I hope this gets real traction as well so that we can have candid discussions about what dealing with this is going to entail.

    Because we need to face up to some very, very sobering realities. About the enormity and urgency of the decarbonization task. And likely our own hypocrisy, duplicity and greed.

    For too long, most activists have been soft-pedalling the sacrifices that are going to need to be made: more expensive power, dietary changes, curtailment of personal driving and aviation in general, diversion of social and private investment from pet projects to decarbonization, increased foreign assistance and a whole slew of other stark third-rail changes.

    Instead, we have been fed decades of “tiny carbon price would be magic”, “wind and solar are actually cheaper!”, “it’s all win/win!”, etc.

    Which the children’s strike can hopefully brings into stark relief. We mouth the platitudes like “The most important things in my life are my kids and grandchildren!”, but if it comes down to cutting back beef to, oh, 3 times a month. Or flying to, oh, once every three years. Or many billions being gifted to Bangladesh effectively in perpetuity. Etc. None of which is sufficient, but just to soften the blow a bit. Then we and the children are going to get to see what mommy, daddy & the grandparents’ honest priorities really are. For better or worse, hopefully for better.

    The day of reckoning where the public actually apprehend what is required to decarbonize is nigh.

    Hopefully young people start voting more, too. They have far, far more at stake, and although they have less money per capita than their elders, they have the exact same number voting power.

  6. AOM,
    Indeed, I think understand social media (or, at least, are not scared to use it) and so are able to get a message without needing other people to “pull their strings”. I certainly haven’t seen anything to indicate that this is orchestrated in some way by others. This does seem to be school children genuinely trying to do what they think is right.

  7. I agree with the sentiment. When I saw the images today, first the first time it give me a feeling of real hope. More power to their elbows. It’s going to be very difficult for those in denial to counter this movement, without looking both callous and selfish to the general public.

  8. john,

    It’s going to be very difficult for those in denial to counter this movement, without looking both callous and selfish to the general public.

    The Global Warming Policy Foundation are already trying (I won’t bother linking). Looking callous and selfish doesn’t seem to be something that bothers them much.

  9. Willard says:

    > Hopefully young people start voting more, too. They have far, far more at stake, and although they have less money per capita than their elders, they have the exact same number voting power.

    This may explain why Freedom Fighters are increasing their hippie punching. Witness the recent “but GND” in a previous thread, or see for yourself on the tweeter:

    https://twitter.com/search?f=tweets&q=millenials%20country&src=typd

    Reactionary forces must work under a tight clock too, as they tend to die before their opponents. What they can’t bring in the streets, they print online. It started with teh Donald, but it won’t stop there:

  10. Willard says:

    Oh, and this “I Pity the Fuel” is pure gold.

  11. Nothing about these strikes – at the moment, anyway – on NYTimes.com, washingtonpost.com and cnn.com homepages.

    Squeezed out, apparently, by items like:

    Avenatti claims he has new tape showing R. Kelly having sex with underage girl

    Although once it crosses the Atlantic it will get the full Women’s March, March for Our Lives treatment. We need it to keep momentum, though. Anyone remember the People’s Climate March? No?

  12. BBD says:

    Oh, and this “I Pity the Fuel” is pure gold.

    Shallow git that I am, I have to agree 🙂

  13. Willard says:

    The Gilets Jaunes changed teams:

  14. anoilman says:

    This picture sums it up;

  15. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says:


    Reactionary forces must work under a tight clock too, as they tend to die before their opponents.


    Nothing about these strikes – at the moment, anyway – on NYTimes.com, washingtonpost.com and cnn.com homepages.

    The reactionaries are not trying to do something new. They are trying to make the status quo immortal. And, maybe, America great again.

    The average forcefully reacting contrarian is Caucasian, male, English-speaking, and 50+ years of age.
    While these people are vastly out-numbered, and dying off, they nevertheless tend to have privileged access to television studios, editorial staff, and political offices.

    Of course the GND is getting punched in the face even before it has a chance to get out of the crib and learn to walk. Because: “F*ck the librul meeja”, anyone to the left of Ayn Rand is a socialist, and universal health care is communism.

    Even the old guys with the best seats in the house, like Statler and Waldorf, still have to get swaggy.

  16. John says:

    Reblogged this on jpratt27.

  17. entropicman says:

    In a few years time these teenage protesters will be voters.

    Politicians take note.

  18. Steven Mosher says:

    eating insects will help.
    change school lunch programs.

  19. Steven Mosher says:

    “In a few years time these teenage protesters will be car buyers.

    auto companies take note.

  20. anoilman says:

    Steve Mosher: There’s not need to make fun of kids over food. You’re in the US… have you seen how f*cking huge your portions are? Man… I ordered salmon at one place, and they gave me one side of it. It was flopped off opposite sides of the enormous plate. You could feed 10 kids with that. (Or enrage them by microwaving it in the school cafeteria.)

    The food industry will also do well to be more efficient. Like so;
    https://www.beyondmeat.com/

    My local A&W serves that, and its OK. Its not like you’re actually enjoying meat in fast food places anyways.

  21. BBD says:

    eating insects will help.
    change school lunch programs.

    Yes, we are failing. No, taking the piss doesn’t help.

  22. Steve is always great for his special insight. Goes something like this:

    I have unique insights into both sides of this debate and the foibles of each. I stand above all this because of my unique insights and I can also offer this: [swaggier, please -W].

    By the way, I think the young (western) millennials and younger are buying far fewer cars. Should check my thinking, but since hardly anyone does, I am going to just let that stand and prickishly suggest that auto companies take note.

  23. BBD says:

    And from 1989:

  24. Willard says:

    Roses are red, Kalashnikovs are electric:

  25. Everett F Sargent says:

    ATTP sez,

    “As an aside, I watched some of the Congressional hearing about climate science and why it matters, and it was mostly a very good example of the kind of discussions we should be having. …
    I was really very impressed by what I saw of the Hearing. In my view, we need more of this.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_House_Committee_on_Science,_Space,_and_Technology

    Committee chairs, 2011-2018
    Ralph Hall (R, TX), 2011–2012
    Lamar S. Smith (R, TX), 2013–2018

    Or eight years of Republican leadership, the Democrats now have control, go figure. :/

  26. David B. Benson says:

    Stephen Moser — We are running out of insects.

  27. dikranmarsupial says:

    It’s a pity that it will be so long until they get the vote that politicians today won’t care what they think (as they probably won’t be seeking power then).

    If we get a generation of voters who actually care about climate change, then things may happen, but by then it may be too late to prevent substantial hardship and environmental damage.

  28. Chubbs says:

    Two trends we can take to the bank: 1) The impacts of climate change are going to become more and more evident, 2) The cost of switching from fossil-fuels is getting cheaper and cheaper.

    Nice quote at the end of this article:

    In his 1926 novel The Sun Also Rises Ernest Hemingway sums up the theory of change that has ultimately governed every great social, economic, and technological movement in the history of humanity better than anyone before or since:

    “How did you go bankrupt?”

    “Two ways. Gradually, then suddenly.”

    https://www.businessgreen.com/bg/blog-post/3071152/the-kids-are-alright

  29. rustneversleeps: “For too long, most activists have been soft-pedalling the sacrifices that are going to need to be made: more expensive power, dietary changes, curtailment of personal driving and aviation in general, diversion of social and private investment from pet projects to decarbonization, increased foreign assistance and a whole slew of other stark third-rail changes.

    Instead, we have been fed decades of “tiny carbon price would be magic”, “wind and solar are actually cheaper!”, “it’s all win/win!”, etc.

    I must live on another planet. On mine activists have been preaching austerity for decades without much success, while a small group since a few years is observing that the prices of renewable energy are dropping unexpectedly fast and might help solve part of the problem against the resistance of the economic elite.

  30. ATTP: “ The Republicans called Joseph Majkut, who is Director of Climate Policy at the Niskanen Centre. He’s very well-informed and a far cry from the people that Republicans typically call to give evidence.

    That is a hopeful sign. I am not expecting Republicans to become passionate about solving the problem, but a return to decency and reality would allow America to have an adult conversation about climate change and make reasonable compromises.

    I wonder whether they fear that if they do not sober up they will get a Green New Deal, or whether the are afraid that the area of system Washington corruption is coming to an end.

    (Dikran, no need to blame the voters, they would like to solve the problem, 81% even with a pretty radical plan like the GND, the problem is that the political system in Washington has been perverted and made the oligarchs and corporations extremely powerful.)

    If you know someone in your community who would be suited to run a people power campaign for a political office, please nominate them. If they would run for Congress, the right group would be the Justice Democrats.
    https://www.justicedemocrats.com
    They also supported AOC, who was nominated by her brother. There are other groups that help people funded candidates run on other levels.

  31. Steven Mosher says:

    ‘Stephen Moser — We are running out of insects.”

    you farm them obviously.

    silk worms are great

  32. Steven Mosher says:

    “Steve Mosher: There’s not need to make fun of kids over food. You’re in the US… have you seen how f*cking huge your portions are? ”

    1. I am not in the US, I am in China, Korea and Hong Kong, where the portions dwarf America portions. I spend less than 20 days a year in the US only when I absolutely have to.

    2. I am not making fun of the kids. They have future skin in the game, contributing some current skin is always a good move. They can bike to school or walk, eat less meat, forego getting drivers
    licences, try not to pro create, all sorts of things.

  33. Steven Mosher says:

    Michelle O missed her opportunity when she reformed school lunches.

    Any way, now that kids are more motivated, they can make a difference and eat some bugs.
    I would not ask them to do anything I don’t do.

  34. JCH says:

    Trump has restored salty French Fries to school lunchrooms, so for any Obama gains to be sustained against obesity among USA school children, it will require photoshop.

    I generally walk to restaurants to eat (usually around 2 miles.) Have a sustained loss of 40 pounds as a consequence. I think I will suggest McDonalds types start campaigns to encourage families to do that.

  35. anoilman says:

    Steven Mosher: “auto companies take note.”

    They have.

  36. Steven Mosher says:

    Oilman,

    Beijing, 2 years plus havent see a single one. Seen a bunch of teslas and foul smelling trucks
    sidewalks full of bikes

    like this

    https://mashable.com/2017/01/18/bike-sharing-pile-up-china/#UHv7CkzA4PqT

  37. anoilman says:

    Steven Mosher: Oddly, I’ve seen quite a few Canadian electric cars in oil country.
    https://electrameccanica.com/

  38. anoilman says:

    …and those public bikes are getting that treatment in Canada. The companies showed up and just started putting them all over the place.
    https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/calgary-lime-bike-traffic-safety-act-1.4910848

  39. Steven Mosher says:

    i just saw one oilman.
    downtown beijing.
    cool

  40. Sheila Rice says:

    I tried to post a comment, but the line of comments got too long and the subject was sidestepped on to electric cars. Just wanted to agree – the young are also the mover and shakers of the future so good luck to them on their activism. Just don’t waste school days too much!!

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