Sometimes it’s the students who teach. This week, 16-year-old Greta Thunberg arrived in New York City in a zero-emissions yacht, en route to the United Nations climate change summit. The purpose of the trip? Let’s call it a teachable moment.
Over the past year, Greta and more than 2 million teens around the world have led school strikes for climate justice, demanding that their leaders end the age of fossil fuels. Now these young people have declared 20 September 2019 a historic day for a global climate strike by all people, young and old.
As college professors, we’ve learned much over the past 15 years from our Middlebury and Swarthmore students about standing up for climate justice. On the forefront of the climate movement, they’ve launched the worldwide fossil-fuel divestment campaign and gone on to found 350.org and the Sunrise Movement. Young brown, black and indigenous activists who have courageously stood up to powerful fossil fuel companies have taught us how all fights for justice intersect.
So on 20 September, we plan to join youth everywhere, cancel our classes and strike. With seven colleagues, we’ve just released an open letter appealing to fellow educators everywhere: put aside your teaching notes and join your students at a climate strike event near you. As Greta puts it, “Our house is on fire – let’s act like it.” [Continue reading…]