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Stand up for the Earth

Satish Kumar is inspired by recent activism

There is a significant change in the air. The tide is slowly but surely turning in our favour. Resurgence, as an integral part of a worldwide movement for sustainability, spirituality, climate stability and care for the Earth, has been a catalyst in the transformation of consciousness, which is now manifesting in radical activism led by school strikes and Extinction Rebellion. I have been hugely uplifted by their sincere and selfless sacrifice.

All great changes in history have happened because men and women of vision made sacrifices for the greater good of humanity. Under the leadership of Emmeline Pankhurst more than a thousand women went to prison so that universal suffrage would be established in Britain. Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Nelson Mandela and Bertrand Russell were all imprisoned because they stood for the great ideals of human freedom, the dignity of life, and world peace.

The courageous activists of Extinction Rebellion are following in the footsteps of the great heroes of humanity. I salute them for acting in accordance with their convictions.

Similarly a great source of inspiration for me is the young Swedish activist Greta Thunberg. This 16-yearold campaigner has rare wisdom and great foresight and has inspired millions of young people around the world to join the Fridays For Future movement and go on school strikes. For them schooling is simply useless if the future of our planet home is seriously in peril. Greta and her fellow students are teaching the adults the lessons of ecology and forcing them to take action. These young people are asking politicians and business leaders to go beyond the empty words of hope and instead to take urgent action and shift from carbon emission to carbon sequestration.

Encouragingly, media and politicians have responded positively to the actions of Extinction Rebellion and the school strikers. The House of Commons in Britain has declared an environmental and climate emergency, and this historic declaration has been voted through almost unanimously. Greta Thunberg was welcomed by, among others, the Speaker of the House of Commons, the Leader of the Labour Party, and the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. She also spoke at the elite gathering of business leaders in Davos, and at the UN.

In March 2019 school strikes took place in more than 2,000 cities around the world. The second big school strike took place on 24 May in more than 100 countries. Millions of pupils took to the streets to remind the world that the Earth faces a climate emergency. Another great strike is to take place on 20 September 2019. The striking pupils are asking men and women of all ages to join them in this day of action to build a future fit for all living beings.

Although so far politicians and business leaders

34 Resurgence & Ecologist

September/October 2019

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