Teenagers must support the Earth

February 24, 2019

It is time for America’s youth to mobilize for the Earth and speak out. Tens of thousands of teenagers across Europe and Australia have followed the lead of Greta Thunberg (the Joan of Arc for climate awareness), the 16-year-old from Sweden who has told the leaders of the world to wake up and most recently pointed fingers at the inert and passive elite at Davos, Switzerland, that they are the problem and that climate change is here and now and overwhelming the future.

Teenagers have skipped school to protest the ineptitude of adults who have been blinded to the scorching of Mother Earth. There is no time left for business as usual. One teacher remarked that these teenagers have indeed listened to their science teachers. One European girl held a placard that “if the climate were a bank it would have been saved.”

In our country, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., has called for a Green New Deal. The patriarchy that has separated humanity from Earth, and life from the future, must listen. The entire survival of Earth is on the line.

Years ago we helped alert the media to the elephant crisis that affects two continents and indeed our very souls. We asked indigenous people about changing climate and then followed our son across more than a decade to see the wonder of life in the eyes of child inheriting the planet. We followed our first mentors the animals in the wild and witnessed the challenge of the ivory trade and poachers.

We are now planning to share that film, which is a prayer for the life force of the planet. For the animals are the “priests of God” as Carl Jung called them. Without them, witness what is happening to the insects, we can’t survive. We are no better than any elephant walking the Earth or whale swimming the oceans (beware Japan).

These young protesters in Europe, all young people marching toward the future, embody the greatest revolution of our time. Its consciousness has finally become a planetary alarm call, and it started in the body of a small girl. No Nobel Prize can match the army of reverberant souls fighting for the future. She and her generation deserve a renewed Earth. Not just civil rights, not just women’s rights, not just for the poor and dispossessed — not even for elephants and whales but for the entirety of creation, as we know it on this Earth.

Can the extreme denialism and parochial greed of America’s corporate elite be reversed. Can America’s teenagers so fixated on social media and Fortnite use that vehicle to launch a movement for life? Can America’s teenagers rise to match the vehemence in Europe? Can America’s teenagers skip a few days, a few weeks of school and march toward the light of the future and protest the melting away of the glaciers and time, save the oceans and what remains of the forests and save the dawn? Parents everywhere, listen to the children and listen to the teenagers. Grow up while we still can.

Cyril Christo and Marie Wilkinson are looking to publish their next book on Africa, The Entwined Destiny Of Wildlife and Humanity, with an introduction by Jane Goodall and starting their film on the future of the lion. They live in Santa Fe.