Stand Up For The Earth

Donate Now

Issue 316
September/October 2019
Listen Up!

Ethical Living

Stand Up For The Earth
by

issue cover 316

Cover: Greta Thunberg 2019 © Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Issue availability

Order the current issue now

Issue available as PDF

Reprint permissions

Satish Kumar is inspired by recent activism.

Photograph by Ben Porter www.benporterwildlife.co.uk

Photograph by Ben Porter www.benporterwildlife.co.uk

There is a significant change in the air. The tide is slowly but surely turning in our favour. Resurgence, as an integral part of a worldwide movement for sustainability, spirituality, climate stability and care for the Earth, has been a catalyst in the transformation of consciousness, which is now manifesting in radical activism led by school strikes and Extinction Rebellion. I have been hugely uplifted by their sincere and selfless sacrifice.

All great changes in history have happened because men and women of vision made sacrifices for the greater good of humanity. Under the leadership of Emmeline Pankhurst more than a thousand women went to prison so that universal suffrage would be established in Britain. Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Nelson Mandela and Bertrand Russell were all imprisoned because they stood for the great ideals of human freedom, the dignity of life, and world peace.

The courageous activists of Extinction Rebellion are following in the footsteps of the great heroes of humanity. I salute them for acting in accordance with their convictions.

Similarly a great source of inspiration for me is the young Swedish activist Greta Thunberg. This 16-year-old campaigner has rare wisdom and great foresight and has inspired millions of young people around the world to join the Fridays For Future movement and go on school strikes. For them schooling is simply useless if the future of our planet home is seriously in peril. Greta and her fellow students are teaching the adults the lessons of ecology and forcing them to take action. These young people are asking politicians and business leaders to go beyond the empty words of hope and instead to take urgent action and shift from carbon emission to carbon sequestration.

Encouragingly, media and politicians have responded positively to the actions of Extinction Rebellion and the school strikers. The House of Commons in Britain has declared an environmental and climate emergency, and this historic declaration has been voted through almost unanimously. Greta Thunberg was welcomed by, among others, the Speaker of the House of Commons, the Leader of the Labour Party, and the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. She also spoke at the elite gathering of business leaders in Davos, and at the UN.

In March 2019 school strikes took place in more than 2,000 cities around the world. The second big school strike took place on 24 May in more than 100 countries. Millions of pupils took to the streets to remind the world that the Earth faces a climate emergency. Another great strike is to take place on 20 September 2019. The striking pupils are asking men and women of all ages to join them in this day of action to build a future fit for all living beings.

Although so far politicians and business leaders have simply responded with positive words and platitudes, this is a step in the right direction. Now it is up to the public to hold them to account and force them to change their policies and practices. The politicians must act upon their words.

Here are seven simple suggestions for immediate action by the government:

• Insulate homes, offices and public buildings to reduce energy use and carbon emissions.

• Bring back the Feed-in Tariff and prioritise investment in renewable energy.

• Stop fracking at once.

• Cancel all airport expansion, including plans to build a third runway at Heathrow.

• Plant vast new forests and protect existing woodlands.

• Encourage people to adopt a more plant-based diet and to support organic farming.

• Reduce the production and consumption of single-use plastic with immediate effect and ban such plastic altogether within two years.

While the teenage activist Greta Thunberg has been giving a voice to the young, 93-year-old David Attenborough has been articulating the concerns of older people. This master presenter of natural history programmes has spoken in no uncertain terms about the plight of planet Earth. His outstanding television documentary on the present and urgent danger of climate breakdown has woken up many people who have been trying to push the problem under the carpet. The words coming from this respected scientist and iconic naturalist are a warning to those who are living in comfort and complacency.

These current developments are a source of inspiration to us all. Now we people around the world have to shake off our apathy and join the movement in whatever way we can so that the Earth and humanity can live in harmony for millions of years to come.

There are two motivations behind the movement to address the climate crisis: fear of the end of human civilisation, and love for the Earth and humanity. Of course the force of fear is very strong and it has a place, but for me the power of love is even greater. Therefore let our movement to create climate stability be driven by the power of love, rather than the force of fear.

In this context the work of The Resurgence Trust is now more urgent than ever. We have played a part in transforming consciousness and we dedicate ourselves to continuing to do so in the future. We pledge to remain active for many, many more years to come, and I personally pledge to work for an ecological and spiritual regeneration up to the last breath of my life.

Satish Kumar is Editor Emeritus at The Resurgence Trust. His new book Elegant Simplicity: The Art of Living Well is available from the Resurgence online shop.

Share this page

The Resurgence Trust is an educational charity that publishes Resurgence & Ecologist magazine, Resurgence.org and theEcologist.org to promote ecological sustainability, social justice and spiritual values. Read our vision statement

© The Resurgence Trust | Terms & Conditions | Privacy | Registration & Login Help | Sitemap | Contact Us

The Resurgence Trust publishes Resurgence & Ecologist magazine. Registered Charity Number: 1120414