“Nothing is possible without action, and almost anything is when we rise up together, as you are today….
“I want to say to all the climate strikers today: thank you so much for being unreasonable. That is, if reasonable means playing by the rules, and the rules are presumed to be guidelines for what is and is not possible, then you may be told that what you are asking for is impossible or unreasonable. Don’t listen. Don’t stop. Don’t let your dreams shrink by one inch. Don’t forget that this might be the day and the pivotal year when you rewrite what is possible.
“What climate activists are asking for is a profound change in all our energy systems, for leaving fossil fuel in the ground, for taking action adequate to the planet-scale crisis of climate change. And the rules we are so often reminded of by those who aren’t ready for change are not the real rules. Because one day last summer a 15-year-old girl sat down to stage a one-person climate strike, and a lot of adults would like to tell you that the rules say a 15-year-old girl cannot come out of nowhere, alone, and change the world.
“Sweden’s [Nobel Peace Prize nominee] Greta Thunberg already has.
“They will tell you the rules are that those we see in the news and the parliaments and boardrooms hold all the power and you must be nice to them and perhaps they will give you crumbs, or the time of day, or just a door slammed in your face. They will tell you that things can only change in tiny increments by predictable means. They’re wrong. Sometimes you don’t have to ask for permission or for anything because you hold the power and you yourselves decide which way the door swings. Nothing is possible without action; almost anything is when we rise up together, as you are doing today.
“I don’t know what will happen, because what will happen is what we make happen. That is why there’s a global climate strike today. This is why I’ve started saying, Don’t ask what will happen. Be what happens. Today, you are what is happening. Today, your power will be felt. Today, your action matters. Today in your individual action you may stand with a few people or with hundreds, but you stand with billions around the world. Today you are standing up for people not yet born, and those ghostly billions are with you too. Today you are the force of possibility that runs through the present like a river through the desert.”
Read the full story by Rebecca Solnit, recipient of the 2019 Windham-Campbell Prize for literary achievement in the non-fiction category….
Photograph: The real lessons of history is that change often comes in unpredictable ways.’ Photographer: Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA