I’m walking through the park on what a weather person (or someone British) would probably call ‘a glorious day’. 22 degrees in September. It’s peaceful. It’s calm. People are variously dotted on the lush rolling lawns and reading quietly under the shade of mighty oaks.
And I suddenly find myself crying. We get this day for free. I didn’t do anything to get this. The clouds gave the ground rain and the rain gave the ground life and life emerged in shades of green… a hundred million blades of grass, a hundred thousand kinds of plant and flower feeding countless animals and insects.
I’ve been getting this for free my entire life.
And I realise that I belong to the last generation who gets this for free. Because when you take more from the earth than you give back, it stops being able to give. You rob it of its generous spirit. And that’s why there aren’t many free days like this left. There aren’t many days when I get to do nothing and still know that grass will grow and flowers will bloom and forests will flourish.
We’ve used all our free days up.
We’ve used them up for the generations who will come after us. We’ve used them up for the babies being born today… this ‘glorious’ September day. By the time they reach adulthood, they will have to look in history books to remember what polar bears and untold other species, by that time extinct, looked like.
We’ve used them up for people in places we’ve never been to and places we’ve dropped by for honeymoons and holidays. The people in the devastated Bahamas don’t have free days like this now.
That’s why I’m joining the strike tomorrow. That’s why I’ll be at the Extinction Rebellion in October. Because the earth has given us everything we need and instead of saying ‘thank you’ and giving something back, I’ve been taking and taking and taking until there’s nothing left for anyone else.
But the depleted earth doesn’t need my guilt. She has never needed more from me than this: to hear her suffering, to see her pain and to not look away.
That’s why I’m starting my strike for the climate today.
I hope that the babies born today will get to see things like this…