By Vera Jagielski
Last Friday marked the beginning of a global climate week. To mark its start, there were global Fridays for the Future strikes, including one in Warsaw. Up to 10 000 protestors, including myself, walked in downtown Warsaw.
But where was ASW?
Not many people from ASW participated in the strike; I ended up going by myself. Yet, as a school, we strive to be more environmentally friendly. We have gotten rid of plastic cups and plastic cutlery from the cafeteria; there have been clothing drives and countless other things that the school has done to be more environmentally conscious.
So why weren’t students jumping at the opportunity to skip school and go make their voices heard to try and secure our future?
When I asked around for people to come with me to the strike, I got the general attitude of “Oh I would love to go, but this and this class are too important to miss.” To which I raise the question of what is a strike for if not to mess up the system? That is the way strikes call attention to things.
The Fridays for the Future marches question why students should be studying if we don’t have a future to study for.
I am not saying that I blame people for staying in school because they felt classes were too important to miss. But why can’t ASW students, who don’t think twice about going on a sports trip, not miss one day of school to go and try to secure their future?
We seem to have created a society at ASW where the sports we do, what trips we go on, what grades we get are more important than the potential loss of the planet we live on.
The Warrior Awards point system itself also relies on similar categories on how our attendance is, how our grades are, how much we participate in school activities such as after school sports and clubs. There is no space in this system for the freedom of trying to secure our future on this planet, or simply trying to make sure we have a planet to live on in 20 years.
The system of ASW does not seem to give the freedom of “making the whole world our classroom”, because to have our actions recognized by the school we have to be in school itself. Our actions of trying to help the entire planet do not get recognized by the school.
I am not saying that we should be awarded for going to the strikes and for missing school. I do however believe that the reason students are going out to the streets should be acknowledged in a better light in school. Instead of shame for missing school, give students the benefit of the doubt who are trying to secure a planet for their future.
Something I also noticed during the strike was a disappointing lack of adults. Yes, it is a student movement, but we live on the same planet and we will all be affected by the same crisis. Climate change does not discriminate.
So why aren’t parents marching for their children’s futures alongside them? Why are parents prohibiting students from going to marches? Why are parents deeming school more important than students securing a planet to live on.
Adults, why are you not marching alongside the youth?
Teachers, you are trying to prepare us for the future. Why are you not marching alongside us to secure us a planet to live on?
Climate change will not discriminate between age, ethnicity, nationality, occupation, because climate change does not care who you are. It will affect everyone. No one will be left untouched by the catastrophe that climate change could bring about. The planet can do fine without us and would probably thrive without humans, but we cannot. We need the earth to survive. So let’s try to protect it.
We as a school could have added hundreds to the number recorded on Friday in Warsaw. We could have shown what our voices are worth in this world, but we didn’t.
“So, everyone out there, it is now time for civil disobedience. It is time to rebel.”
- Greta Thunberg