Last week school students took to the streets to protest about climate change, going on strike from school to demand their voices be heard regarding the future being bequeathed to them be one to their liking. Thousands took part, waving placards and chanting catchy slogans: “What do we want!? Climate change sorting out! When do we want it!? During double maths!” It was quite a sight to witness the younger generation up in arms and passionate, I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many sanctimonious, self-righteous snotbags in one place. Aww, and their cute little placards: ‘THERE IS NO PLANET B’, ‘WE WON’T DIE OF OLD AGE, WE’LL DIE OF CLIMATE CHANGE’, ‘THIS PLANET NEEDS TO GIVE A SHIT’, ‘F*K PEOPLE NOT THE PLANET’. Bless their sweet, innocent little hearts and their spelling and grammatical errors. I’m looking at you, yes you, who wrote ‘SEA LEVEL’S ARE RISING, SO ARE WE’.
Credulous as I am I can’t help thinking a day skiving off lessons, for some, will have ranked at least as high as pretending to give a toss about ecological issues, with many of the students present happily playing truant with the help of collaborating teachers and my tax money. Hand on heart, at that age I would have gone on a march for or against pretty much anything to get away from the classroom for a day, banning TV or reinstating national service for example. And being allowed to write swear words on the back of a cereal box and wave it in people’s faces would have been the fucking icing on the bollocky cake.
So why did these pint-size dissenters wander about shouting out stuff for the benefit of humanity…and the many media channels following the shenanigans. Well, it was because they are concerned with the future of the planet and what their lot will be when we hand over the burnt to a crisp cinder that was the Earth to them. Obviously no one was there on the off-chance they’d get their mug on a screen; no, no it was all in the name of true altruism. God knows how none of the little screen junkies would want to reach global recognition like so many of their Youtube idols.
“Stop it,” they shouted, to boil it down to a simplistic soundbite, “Stop it now!” We could say that’s fair enough, climate change is apparently an across the scientific board accepted fact that no one is suffered to argue against or, Heaven forbid, deny. So, yes, let’s stop it. How are we going to do that then? Anyone? You on the left with the ‘WE’RE MISSING OUR LESSONS SO WE CAN TEACH YOU ONE’ placard, you must have the answer. No? Nobody? Looks like another case of the problem I outlined in my previous rant ‘Something Needs To Be Done About…’ check it out, it’s insightful. With so many questions to answer left unanswered you’d think the patrolling pupils would all be chomping at the bit to get back to their education and solve the conundrum rather than sagging off for a jolly, yet extensively timewasting, march.
I may be out of touch with the pressing causes of the day and too thick understand them to any degree but is it possible these roaming rascals would better serve the planet if they stayed in school, knuckled down and worked out an answer to the problem they are identifying themselves with? I could be wrong but I doubt Wilhelm Roentgen invented the X-ray by walking around the streets shouting, “I want to see through shit!” Instead he was in his laboratory working his arse off so now we can all get our genitals graded out of ten by giggling airport security staff. If these marauding munchkins had stayed in school instead of striking who knows what enlightenment they would have found themselves gifted with that could later play a role in solving some of the demands they were so fervently shouting for.
Could it be that they were merely following another trend, highlighted by a Swedish schoolgirl across social media, and had no more interest and investment in climate change than when they all loved ‘Pokémon Go’ soooooo much? The junior Swede has addressed the UN on climate change, how many of the striking students dreamed of themselves with such fame and recognition; imagining the amount of self-congratulatory selfie pouting such a gig would allow them to swamp the internet with. I’m not saying all of the protesting was undertaken for narcissistic means but come on, we all know kids are totally egocentric beings with no sympathy or empathy for the world beyond their phone. You try asking one of them to wash some dishes, the ones they’ve just eaten their free food off, and then tell me how helpful and considerate they are.
Activism much like charity should begin at home and it is this stance I reckon will stop the little beggars in their tracks and make them do a complete U-turn quicker than if there was a cheeky ‘Wing Roulette’ flash sale down at Nando’s. How many of the protestors are prepared to make changes in their own lives and demand the same in the lives of those close to them? Are they going to make mater and pater sell their matching BMW X5s and buy a Tesla Model S? (There are various theories as to what the ‘S’ stands for.) Are these mini-martyrs going to walk their arses to school instead of getting a 300 yard lift in the Beemer from their bed to the gates? Are they willing to bin their phones, computers and games consoles which are full of toxic non-biodegradable components and because they don’t run on eco-friendly unicorn farts, they run on electricity and that comes via production methods that we are told are well nasty for ‘Planet A’? Their favourite coffee outlets and fast food gaffs, they have got to be avoided forever more for the sins of the purveyors of the bean and burger are many and varied. If everyone under 19 stopped using fast food outlets we would be one less high street and retail park Highlander overnight; can you honestly see that happening? They will have to offload a majority of their clothes, shoes, jewellery, make-up, deodorant and hair products as they are produced in countries with little to no concern for eco-things or human/animal rights and stomping around Dunstable waving a ‘BE PART OF THE SOLUTION NOT THE POLLUTION’ placard, even one written in glitter ink, will not be seen from those smog-enveloped nations. To make a difference personal sacrifices must be made and I am not sure that enough of these striking students will offer up one iota of their lifestyle to achieve it. Look to yourselves before burdening others to follow the path of rectitude, children.
We have to bear in mind one fact, and this isn’t ageism as we have all been there in our own past and would be well to remember it, the majority of kids are clueless eejats. Their prism is a limited one in which they see vibrantly clear rainbows ignoring the rest of the invisible spectrum that goes on behind the pretty technicolour scene. They are just starting out in life, have no experience and don’t know how things work in the real world. It could be argued, with all the new tech at their fingertips, this is the most naïve and (ironically) disconnected generation ever, as far as the pampered first world is concerned. Which brings us to another point, what about the kids in developing countries, those which are starting off on industrialisation and receiving the undeniable advantages of mechanisation and fossil fuel infrastructure? Should they be denied all the comfort and ease the protestors have been gifted in their short lives, the luxuries and the security? Is a polar bear more important than a child in the third world? Climate change is a problem but it is not one that can be solved by energy drink hyped-up school kids holding aloft a sea of pithy banners and taking enough selfies to give themselves radiation poisoning.
Here’s my advice, you cheeky scamps. Get off the streets, put your arse in a chair behind a school desk and study hard. When you’re all clued up, work your fingers to the bone to find solutions to the problem of climate change and do it bearing in mind it’s not only about you and your world of privilege and treasured trinkets. I don’t even care if you write the masterplan down on the side of a deconstructed box in dayglow marker but make sure it’s a remedy, not a demand for something you’re not prepared to carry through yourself. That’s the answer, hard work, perseverance, self-denial…I wonder how many of the ‘Class of 2019’ have the spines to do that. I suppose we’ll find out when they’re middle-aged and sneering at the next generation of clueless crusaders.
Of course I don’t believe for one second these strikes were the brainchild of a horde of pimply teens armed with glue sticks and hormonal energy, there’s always some shadowy organisation playing puppet master in the mirk at the outer edges of these things. I won’t even hazard a guess as to who they are in this case, the suspects are numerous, but I hope they know what they have unleashed because if social media ever loses its addictive, enslaving shine we may never be able to walk the streets again without being washed away in a tide of indignant, cause-chasing students getting thicker and more malleable with each day they skip lessons.
*Cheap shot considering my own feeble grasp of grammar and spelling which is probably evident in this very rant. Unfortunately for me salvaged cardboard does not have spellcheck and hence that is why I have never been on a protest where I may be required to make and display a banner with an inciting motto such as ‘BRUNG BACK HANGGING’ scrawled on it in my pitiful handwriting.