It’s shameful that children should have to be the grown-ups in the room and lecture their parents and grandparents on the need to take the climate crisis seriously, The Observer acknowledges in a blistering editorial responding to last week’s #FridaysForFuture school strikes, published Sunday by The Guardian.
Forecasts of “melting ice sheets, rising sea levels, unprecedented storms, acidifying oceans, and spreading deserts” should have “spurred global action a long time ago,” the publication states. “Yet politicians across the world have consistently refused to act and for decades have procrastinated, discounting evidence that clearly shows global warming is already affecting our planet.”
As a result, “our leaders are in real danger of betraying a generation of young people who, in a few decades, are likely to inherit a blighted world that has been denuded of much of its wildlife, coastline, and fertile land. The future of our children is being stolen before their eyes.”
Against that backdrop, “the decision by children round the planet to vent their anger and to stage an international campaign of protests and school walkouts last week is to be welcomed,” the editorial states. “It was a just response to a global injustice. Without a voice in a political debate in which their future is being threatened by the political inability of their elders, young people have had little choice. Teachers may complain that the disruption caused by last week’s protests only increases their work load and wastes lesson times, but it is clear the campaign is being driven by genuine outrage, a grievance that also explains the considerable breadth of these protests.”
The Observer gives the last word to student protester Anastasia Martynenko in Kiev. “We are happy to be the driving force,” she said, “because when our children ask us what have you done for our future, we will have an answer.” That comment, the paper notes, “supported her actions in terms that starkly highlight the depth of her elders’ failures and underline the now desperate need for a reinvigoration of global climate policies.”
In a separate post, DeSmog UK reports on the “wave of criticism” BBC Scotland faced after it drastically understated the number of countries represented in #FridaysForFuture marches, failed to interview the lead organizers in Scotland or ask the government how it planned to respond, and invited a climate denier to comment on the strike.
“The BBC’s editorial guidelines specifically forbid allowing climate deniers to espouse their disgusting lies on the BBC,” noted Richard Dixon of Friends of the Earth Scotland. “So BBC Scotland, are you just bad at your job, or is institutional climate skepticism still lurking there?”