The world is on fire, from the Amazon to California, from Australia to the Siberian Arctic. The hour is late, and the moment of consequence, so long delayed, is now upon us. Do we watch the world burn, or do we choose to do what is necessary to achieve a different future? Who we understand ourselves to be determines the choice we will make. That choice determines what will become of us. The choice is both simple and complex, but above all it is urgent. In Washington, D.C., at ten a.m. on a Friday, a twelve-year-old girl marches with her friends, holding up a hand-painted sign of the Earth enveloped by red flames.
In London, grown-up demonstrators dressed in black, wearing riot police headgear, form a human chain blocking traffic at Piccadilly Circus, as others glue themselves to the pavement in front of the headquarters of BP. In Seoul, South Korea, the streets teem with elementary school children sporting multicolored backpacks and carrying banners that say CLIMATE STRIKE—in English, for the benefit of the media. In Bangkok, hundreds of teenage students take to the streets. With firm resolve and heavy hearts, they walk behind their defiant leader, an eleven-year-old girl carrying a sign: THE OCEANS ARE RISING AND SO ARE WE. All over the world, millions of young people—inspired by Greta Thunberg, the teenage girl who began a lone protest in front of the Swedish parliament—are engaging in civil disobedience to draw attention to climate change. Students understand the scientific projections and are terrified about the diminished quality of life on their horizon. They demand decisive action now
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