One of the daunting challenges that we humans as a civilization face is climate change. The very livelihood of people today and of future generations is under threat. Even with that knowledge, many corporations are either outright refusing to recognize or are feigning ignorance of the issue, continuing to pump out dangerous toxic substances globally. Who stands up and speaks out for change?
One of those that have begun to speak up is grandparents, for the simple reason of their love for their grandchildren, who will one day inherit the world. The same loving grandparents that would give anything that their grandchildren asked for. Money, food, compassion, you name it. They would give up their own life to save and protect their grandchildren. These are individuals that will stand up and never give up in their fight for a better world for their offspring. That is what ‘Grandparents for a Safe Earth’ represents: undying love and compassion for those they care for dearly.
As carbon dioxide levels passed 400ppm in July 2015 (Mauna Loa Observatory, Hawaii), our work is cut out for us. Further evidence that points to the dangers we are facing are the melting of ice-caps, rising global temperatures, more droughts, greenhouse gases piling up, animal extinctions, and so on and so forth.
Standing outside a private facility blocking the entrance may be career-jeopardizing for younger people, but these grandparents have the advantage of being past their careers. Phil Kingston, one of the grandparents, further stated that the police don’t want to arrest grandparents. They would not mistreat or press charges to grandparents for this, like they would with somebody younger. These grandparents see it as their responsibility to future generations, in order to give them better lives. Kingston later explained: ‘…this is who we are. This is our identity and it is a really important one to connect with other people.’ They recognize that doing nothing is not an option, at least not without repercussions.
We have a duty to leave a world to the future that is worth living in. We cannot allow for selfishness and greed to get in the way of what is right. Kingston knows that anything different means those future generations will suffer for the ill-conceived actions of those in control today.
It is only right to shift gears now, away from fossil fuels, before it is too late. For that reason, these grandparents began protesting in public in front of banks that are funding and investing heavily in fossil fuels - one of them being Barclays bank in Bristol. The protesters refused to budge without the police escorting them off the premises. Since then, more grandparents have signed up for duty in other nations. They want governments, corporations, and individuals to work for change. To fight against climate change by polluting less and using more efficient energy sources, such as solar power.
The grandparents know there is no tomorrow for these changes. Tomorrow came and went more than a decade ago. In that time, hundreds of millions of tons of pollutants were pumped into the atmosphere and oceans annually. The change must be now or never.
Want for change is one thing, but the other part of it is making decisions. Clearly, previous generations have not made the right decisions as they have emitted so much pollution that the impacts of these action have caught up with us, to the point that we are slowly running out of options today. Grandparents can use what they know and have learned during their lives to work alongside kids today to show them the right way. They are passing down the torch and guide us as we face our current environmental challenges.