Friday, September 17, 2021

climate friday: the kids are alright


Good morning!  Yes, it's my monthly Climate Action post, and above you'll see the World Climate Clocks from September 2020 and today, about a year apart.  The news encapsulated here doesn't look that good, and I don't know about you, but there are days when I despair that there's anything I can personally do to change any of those numbers. (And what the heck has happened to that LIFELINE number???)

However...since last month's Climate Action post, in which I shared info about how there both IS and ISN'T anything we can do personally to make a positive impact, I learned more about the idea of a Personal Carbon Footprint.  Basically, it's a ploy by big oil companies, led by British Petroleum starting at the turn of the millenium. Analysts say that BP's "Beyond Petroleum" ad campaign, which popularized the idea of calculating our personal or household carbon footprint, was calculated to  to throw the burden of climate action onto individuals instead of organizations. “It may sound cynical,” says one, “but mainstream governments and the corporate sector really have no interest in making the fundamental structural changes needed for the economy to become ‘sustainable.’” That kind of transformation would mean overhauling businesses for the sake of the planet at the expense of profits.

But that's all the time I want to spend there--you follow the links and learn more about how we've been duped into thinking that our individual composting and recycling and refusing straws can save the planet.  Instead I want to focus on how we--older people who have established careers and life trajectories that don't easily change direction--can support the young people who are leading the charge to bring mainstream governments and the corporate sector to make fundamental structural changes.

There is likely a kid between 14 and 24 in your own area who is making it their life work to address climate change.  One I know is Jerome Foster II, a kid I met in June of 2019 when I occasionally joined his Fridays for Future school strike down at the White House. 


That kid is now a high school graduate and the youngest member of  The White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council.  You can get a feel for his passion, brilliance and dedication from his Twitter account and from this short feature on Hulu.


 Here's another chat with Jerome:


When we spend time with young people like this, we can feel energized by both their anger and their optimism.  How can we support them and their projects directly, these kids who really have no choice but to wake up and think about climate rescue work EVERY DAY?

We can pay attention.  We can follow and boost them on social media.  We can send $$$ to their organizations.  We can listen to their leadership and work for systemic change in the ways they advise us to.  We can learn from our youngers, more of whom I've listed below.

I don't have a poem in me this morning that lives up to the force that is Jerome, so here's a wee one from musician and writer Patti Smith for Greta Thunberg, who also joined Jerome's Climate Strike.  The next Global Climate Strike will take place NEXT FRIDAY, September 24.  Can you find a youth leader in your area and offer direct support?  

Birthday Poem for Greta | Patti Smith

This is
Greta Thunberg, turning
seventeen today, asking
for no accolade, no gifts
save we not be neutral.
The Earth knows its kind
just as all deities, just as
animals and the healing
spring. Happy birthday
to Greta, who stood today
as every Friday, refusing
to be neutral.


Search these kids on Twitter (I don't do Instgram but most of them are more there, I believe).  Follow, boost, listen, act, refuse to be neutral.  And thanks to our host today, Denise Krebs at Dare to Care

  • NakabuyeHildaF
  • Holly Gillibrand
  • Benji Backer
  • Xiye Bastida
  • Xiuhtezcatl Martinez
  • Alissa Weisman
  • Serena Moscarella
  • NadiaBaltimore
  • Bob Matovu
  • Leah Namugerwa
  • Haven Coleman
  • Luisa Neubauer


  1. I love your focus and ability to find those even more focused, like Jerome. Thank you, Heidi for teaching me. I learn from you to learn from Jerome who I will follow on social media. Patti Smith packs a punch..." The Earth knows its kind" Amen and yes.

  2. Heidi, wow, what a rich post. Your photos and details really challenge me and your other readers. Thank you. I will look for some of these young activists and refuse to be neutral. Thanks for all the links. I'm still checking them out.

  3. I like that Patti Smith poem a lot. Thank you for sharing it!

  4. Thanks for this! I agree that we need to listen to our youngers on this one.

  5. Thank you for sharing these videos. Jerome is truly an inspiration! I love Patti Smith's tribute to Greta Thunberg and her refusal "to be neutral."

  6. I will search for those names, Heidi. Thanks for the extra boost from Jerome, too, in the videos.

  7. Jerome gives me hope, as Greta does. Thanks for this, Heidi.

  8. Nice to see these young people taking action now, and not waiting! Thanks for sahring this, Heidi.

  9. A wonderful poem about an exceptional young person. Thank you for your continued efforts to educate and inform on this critical issue.

  10. I had to follow Jerome after reading your post, Heidi. It is so exciting to see young students like jerome and Greta making a stand to help protect our universe.

  11. Thank you. Jerome is an inspiration.


Thanks for joining in the wild rumpus!