By Isabella @TheWandCarver
Unless you have been living in a bubble somewhere in Siberia, most likely you have heard of sixteen-year-old Greta Thunberg of Sweden and how she decided to strike school each Friday to get attention to the climate crisis all over the world. And since then, school children not only in Sweden but also in the UK, Germany, the US, and hec – everywhere[!] have been on climate strike. School-aged children from lower years up through teens have been taking to the streets with placards and posters every Friday for some weeks now. And, as it happens, there will always be at least one whom occasionally doesn’t want to. No worries. At least, there should be no worries.
As reported by Sputnik, 23.05.2019: “A Swedish girl who refused to join her classmates in skipping school for the sake of the climate has ended up being labelled as a “climate denier”, which her mother described as “mass psychosis“.
The teacher of this student [yes, the teacher] told the young girl she “was uncommitted and failed to understand the seriousness of the climate threat and she should reconsider her decision”. What is worse is that she said it openly, for the entire class to hear. And, as children are wont to do, they took the cue from their teacher, ganged up on the poor girl, and called her a “climate denier” and stopped social interaction with her, in a sort of ‘boycott’ of her because she did not fall in line with their thinking. But wait… it gets worse. When the young lady’s mother rang the school to speak with the head teacher, she was told that her daughter “went against the rest of the class and refused to participate in something this positive”. And now, the poor girl has refused to return to her classes.
I am pretty sure this is not the way Miss Thunberg would want to get people involved on climate change.
I suppose it had to happen eventually, although it really should not happen. No one should ever be bullied into doing things they do not want to do, no matter how good the cause. And, it may not have been that she disagreed with the ‘cause’ but perhaps she was not feeling well that day for whatever reason. Or, perhaps she is a climate denier. Still, it makes no difference why she did not want to strike. It should have been enough that she said no. That should have been an end to it. She could have either been sent to sit in on another class or asked would she rather go home. That is all that should have come of it. Instead, an over-zealous teacher decided to over-step her boundaries by making an “example” of this young lady and caused the girl’s very friends to turn against her! It would seem the head teacher was in on it as well. With people in charge of classrooms such as these, we will be churning out bullies and alt-righters as fast as you can say climate emergency.
First, this teacher and head teacher should have a good, hard think about what they have caused to happen by their over-zealousness and because of it, have failed to understand the seriousness of their actions and they should reconsider their decision to have spoken so to this young girl without considering the fact that she had a right to her decision not to strike. No matter the reason why. They should then go before the class of pupils whom were involved because of their bad actions and explain what has happened and apologise for having drawn them into this most unkind act upon the girl whom has a right to whatever feelings she has. They should call for understanding. Then, the teacher and head teacher should go to the girl’s home, with parent[s] present, and tell her that they have examined their actions and now realise they were wrong to have done this to her. Tell her they have had a word with her fellow students, and then apologise profusely to her and ask that she come back to school with assurances that this will not happen again on their watch. This can make the situation into a positive learning experience which will show children that it is good to accept responsibility for one’s own actions, good or bad, and how to diffuse and rectify a bad situation. It will also restore trust within the student-teacher partnership as should be. But most of all, the poor young girl whom has been so humiliated by teacher and friends alike, can now feel more valuable again because they all cared enough to acknowledge the wrongs they committed and apologise. This could be a turning point in her life… for good or bad. I hope the teachers decide for good.
The lesson here is, be zealous, it’s alright. However, balance that zealousness with oversight. Make certain you never allow yourself to make anyone feel badly because they don’t believe as you do. Pushing, prodding, speaking ill-advisedly to, and plain bullying will never cause change. Oh, I believe I’m wrong there – bullying can definitely cause change but not the kind of change you want. In the current state of climate change, I concur there is a climate emergency. No, we do not have time to rest on our laurels, so to speak. However, we have no right to try to shame anybody into helping our efforts along. When we shame and bully, we create slaves. We create action from people whom are afraid of us and feel they must do our bidding or be hurt in some way. It is not the kind of action we want, now is it? The ends do not justify the means, ever. So what if we could reverse climate change if by doing so we turn out nations full of scared, enslaved people?
The only way to tackle the climate crisis is with good will, and that includes a willingness to accept other people’s feelings. Apart from conservative politicians, many people are feeling terrified of what is happening in the world and find it easier to hide away from it. Very understandable. I do it myself when I do something I love and can find rest within my soul from the doing of this thing, like wood carving. My mind goes blank when I do, and I don’t think. Some call this Mindfulness…I call it ‘mind-less-ness’. I leave my mind blank to accept creativity to speak to me; the wood, in fact, speaks to me. Still, when all is said and done, I do come back to the other reality… the one we face with minds full of worries about the state of the world. But when I do, I have found answers in the most unlikely seeming of ways… and then I write.
We really must do all we can to help Mother Earth and each other. We must stand together, and we must not only do for ourselves but to consider our neighbours, both on our street, in our village or town, and in our world. We must do what we can as if we were a part of a huge puzzle because we are. Sometimes some pieces are missing but it’s alright because we always find that missing piece eventually. Even if we don’t, we have enough pieces to see that the unfolding picture is beautiful. But let us do what we do from a place of love, not zealousness. Love for our planet, love for our family, ourselves, and for all people, for we are all the same really. Don’t think in terms of “Well, my neighbour doesn’t do half what I do for climate change”. This is counter-productive, and we should never measure ourselves against anybody else, and that includes when you think “Oh dear, I am not doing half what my neighbour does for climate change!”… Don’t bully yourself! Do what you can and be pleased with your efforts. The longest walk starts with the smallest steps and if we’re all stepping toward the same goal, even when some others do not, we will get to the end. No one has the right to judge whether anyone else is doing enough. Unless it is your government and then if they aren’t, do write letters. Do passively protest. But do not bully.
Thank you for reading. I do hope you have found something which at least vaguely helps you in my blog and if you have, please share via the social media buttons below. I love to receive comments and likes and I always answer as quickly as possible. Everyone means a great deal to me and I only wish to help, never harm so do let me know how I’m doing. Many warm blessings upon all whom this way wanders x
** Everyone is being called to Climate Strike on 20 September, young and old alike. I will write more about it in future, but if you wish to participate, save the date! Please visit https://www.facebook.com/savinggaia2019/ for more details along the way. Thank you x