Youth rage against climate complacency

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Today, young people in Cape Town join the Global Climate Strike, a youth movement protesting against government inaction on climate change. SAFCEI, the Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute, supports and marches in solidarity with future generations who will inherit the Earth. Inspired by Greta Thunberg from Sweden, children from around the world have been taking time off school to march in outrage about the urgency for action on climate change.

But while children are taking to the streets to demand a better future, heads of states and other dignitaries were once again discussing the global challenges of sustainable consumption, climate change and biodiversity loss at the fourth UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi this week.

Many youth activists from the region are expressing their outrage. "We rise today because our future is at stake. If we don't take a stand there will be no earth," says Amber Julius, from Elsenberg, Stellenbosch.

"Climate change can no longer be ignored. We see the devastating effects every day. The cyclone in Mozambique is one example," says Pekeur.

“This earth is my home and I want it clear and clean from all pollution now," shared Sizwe Manqele, from SAFCEI.

“SAFCEI has followed climate talks for over a decade, and governments are still doing too little, too late. The time for talking is over, now there must be action,” says SAFCEI’s Executive Director, Francesca de Gasparis.

“Today our attention and energies should focus on and support the children striking for their future. Young people are the bearers of light. As people of faith we need to recognise our role as custodians of the earth, for the sake of our children, future generations and the whole community of life.  We must examine what we are doing to the earth and each other, examine our value systems and take action for the common good,” says de Gasparis.

Cape Town joins the Global Climate Strike outside Parliament from 12 Noon to 3 PM today.

It is my hope that all the children, the children of the deer and the wolf, the whale and other marine forms of life; the children of the osprey and the bluebird and the butterfly; the children of the oak and the pine and the dogwood; the children all together with the human children will go into the future in oneness "as a single sacred community." ... The human is less a being on the earth or in the universe than a dimension of the earth and indeed of the universe itself. We cannot discover ourselves without first discovering the universe, the earth, and the imperatives of our own being. Each of these has a creative power and a vision far beyond any rational thought or cultural creation of which we are capable. Nor do we think of these as isolated from our own individual being or from the human community. We have no existence except within the earth and within the universe.

-          from Creative Energy: Bearing the Witness for the Earth by Father Thomas Berry

Issued by Tamzyn Pamplin, SAFCEI Communications Coordinator. For more information, contact Tamzyn Pamplin on 079-599-7694 (also available on WhatsApp).

Statement from Club of Rome on Student Climate Protests