We Joined #FridaysForFuture with Greta Thunberg and This Is What We Saw

 

Last Friday, the GIANT team headed downtown and witnessed kids taking action, making their voices heard, and joining together to create history. 

What started as a 16-year-old camping outside the Swedish Parliament has turned into a historical movement; with an estimated 4 million people taking part in the Global Climate strike around the world, making it the largest climate protest in world history. More than 4,500 strikes were planned worldwide in over 120 countries, with more than 500 strikes in the U.S. alone. Here in New York, an estimated 300,000 people gathered in Lower Manhattan to participate in the march down Broadway, culminating in a rally in Battery Park. 

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Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish climate activist started protesting in front of the Swedish parliament on Fridays instead of attending school. This simple action has ignited a global conversation and has given a teen a seat at the world table this week at the UN Climate Action Summit. She’s a great example of how a 16-year-old can make a powerful impact - bringing awareness to many politicians, and providing a platform for kids all around the world to join a mission that they care about collectively.

Photo Courtesy of Eduardo Munoz Alvarez—AP

Photo Courtesy of Eduardo Munoz Alvarez—AP

It’s time for us to take kids seriously; their ideas, their views of the world, their ambitions, and their power to actually make a change in the world. It’s time for us to change the question, “what do you want to do when you grow up?” to “what is it that you care to do right now?” and actually help them to do that. 

We started The GIANT Room with this strong belief - that kids care about problems in their society and when they are given the chance and the platform, they roll up their sleeves and do something about it. 

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The Global Climate Strike is a powerful example of youth taking part in helping to shape the world they want to live in. The simple action of participating in the march can spur leaders to listen and make commitments to change. But kids’ participation should not stop there - we can actually help them to take further actions, and here is how you can help the kids in your life to take that extra step, whether you are a parent, or an educator: 

Talk to Your Kids About Climate Change: 

  • Show them pictures and videos of Friday’s march, especially of the kids just like them, and discuss the significance of the march and what it means to be a member of a community

  • Explain to them how the movement started small, and acknowledge that it took a year to get the awareness that Greta has built today. Big impact tomorrow starts with simple actions today

  • When you talk to them, take their ideas and ambitions seriously. Don’t laugh at them. Don’t interrupt them. Don’t call them “cute”Engage in conversation through an activity. Experiment with sustainable energy by making projects that use other forms of electricity, like potato batteries and solar panels

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Create a Green Household: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle still rings true! 

  • Reduce: Encourage  kids to limit their electronic waste (turning off the lights, toys, and computers), and ask them to remind you to do so as well when they see a chance to reduce! 

  • Reuse: Ask kids to make a pile of toys, books, clothes, and other goods that they no longer use or want to donate. Bring these items to a Goodwill or Salvation Army. You can also encourage them to think of new ways to use their old belongings - yes, they need to be a bit creative here!  

  • Recycle:  Kids can help sort recyclable items and place them in the correct bins. Again, ask them to also remind you when they spot an item that was not recycled correctly. You can also repurpose cardboard boxes, containers, and more to create GIANT projects :) 

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Encourage Kids to Make A Difference

  • Does your kid have an idea for how to make their school or home greener? Support them in bringing these ideas to life. Let them plan, try, and implement an idea to help the environment, no matter how small or big their idea might be. Maybe they have ideas on how to reduce your use of plastic? Maybe they want to start a new initiative in their school where all children bring their own water bottles to avoid using plastic cups? Maybe they have ideas on writing a book? 

  • Of course, it doesn’t have to be all about climate change! Ask your child if they have the ambition to start the next movement and what that could be! You can always reach out to GIANT Team to give you ideas on how they can start on their journey with small powerful steps!