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Inaction equals extinction

ANOTHER JUNE 4 is around the corner and for those who dream for democracy in China, it is a sacred anniversary of the student-led movement for reform.  Thirty years have passed since the Tiananmen Square tragedy of 1989, which resulted in the killing of thousands of protesters.  
 
The Chinese word, Tiananmen, means gate of heavenly peace. Names can be deceptive. Ever since 1989 it has been anything but a place of peace. For the victims, their families and friends, Tiananmen is a sad reminder of the painful past. For the believers in a democratic China, it is the sacred ground of martyrdom of their heroes while for the government and it’s forces, it is a place of constant surveillance. 
 
While supporters of democracy in Hong Kong commemorate a students’ movement that was suppressed 30 years ago, yet another students’ movement is taking the world by storm—literally. Many of us may not have heard the name of Greta Thunberg, a Swedish teenager, who started the School Strike for Climate movement. When Thunberg sat outside Sweden’s parliament on 20 August 2018, at the age of 15, she cut a lonely figure. She vowed not to attend classes on Fridays until Swedish politicians took action.
 
Her singular action has grown into an international climate movement, organised by young people around the world. Hundreds of thousands of students from over 1,664 cities across 125 countries walked out of their schools and colleges on May 24 to join the movement known as Fridays for Future. In Hong Kong too, around 1,000 children skipped classes and took to the streets with their parents on Friday to urge the government to stop turning a blind eye to climate change.
 
The students and youngsters have got news not just for the government and to those in power, but also for the rest of world: “We’re trying to fix a mess that adults can still fix!” This earth is more important than all the wealth and money one can acquire. We need to save our planet and not the wealth. 
 
Time is up for the elders to act as the movement gains momentum among the students around the world. A change in lifestyle is the only option left for the consumerist world today. 
 
The youngsters hold the adults responsible for the damage done to the earth and they demand reparation. Will the governments and powers that be wake up from their slumber and act on issues that threaten the life of Planet Earth? 
 
Pope Francis challenged the faithful and all people to “care for our common home” with his encyclical, Laudato si’ in 2015. The pope’s posits that the ecological crisis is ultimately linked to a crisis of values and a throwaway culture. It was a proud moment for the Catholic world to have the pope outline guidelines to care for our planet. Yet the question still remains: apart from seminars and workshops on the encyclical, how did it impact my life? What have I done in my personal capacity to reduce carbon footprint? Many have already forgotten Laudato si’.
 
“Inaction equals extinction” and “save the world not your money” read some of the placards the students created for display. Will the future generations hold the people of the present day accountable for our inaction? jose