The School Strike for Climate started by climate action heroine Greta Thunberg has spread to the adult world (as predicted here in March). So now we can throw ourselves into support of the movement without worrying about whether or not we’re supposed to wait for our children to lead. Salutary times!
In an attempt to get as many people across the world to join the strike, to normalise civil disobedience and turn the insane tide of self-destruction to a global mobilisation of climate action, i have drafted a letter. It’s designed to get our colleagues, bosses, clients, customers and everyone involved in our workplaces and households to join with us in support of planetary care, without risking harm to the vulnerable in our communities.
Please feel free to adapt to your workplace and share widely! Start with the CEO or top management, see if you can get organizational support, then share with everyone else. If we follow the protocols of our workplaces we might just help to transform ‘business as usual’ forever!
*NB: this letter is written for the allied health and caring professions. Contact me for help with adapting it to your industry or field! firstname.lastname@example.org
Here is a link to the letter:
And here is the text:
General Strike for Climate – Friday 20th of September – a call for support
We in the allied health, mental health, social work and community development spheres do important work. We help people: to heal and find wellness, to grow as individuals and together, to make a better world. Through our work we show we care and because of this simple fact, our work is important, to us and to those we help. In our fields, we also have to take time to take care of ourselves, to avoid burnout or compassion fatigue. How we find that balance between self-care and helping work is a matter of personal import, which can be helped or hindered depending on our workplace and its culture.
Beyond this personal level of helping and healing work, staff and carers in these fields may also find alignment with a position that critiques the structural inequalities that make magnify the damage we encounter daily. The ‘facts of life’ that create inequality in the first place; the systems that marginalise those who don’t fit mainstream ideals, or leave behind those who aren’t on the side of the ‘winners’ in a competitive society, that let them slip through the cracks when someone else can’t be there to hold them together. There are historically traceable reasons why so many members of modern society are simply left behind by impersonal forces of ‘progress’ and development. We can choose whether or not we want to be more informed about these factors, just as we can choose to side with inner faith and our resolute determination to help regardless of the history that out us here.
But there is one situation growing more deadly by the day that none of us can afford to ignore anymore. This is anthropogenic climate change – the way the planet is heating up, due to the enormous amount of greenhouse gases being burnt by modern society, and the devastating impacts this is already having on people, on the environment and on the animals and plants that are becoming extinct in frightening numbers and with increasing rapidity. We are involved today in a struggle that is no longer ideological (about beliefs or ideas), or historical, but scientifically validated as an existential threat to living species on this planet right now. This is the most important moment to be alive in the history of humanity. No longer do our actions only matter to our local communities – although they still do. We must now give in to the call to “Think Globally and Act Locally”, for this emerging crisis affects us all, including our environment, our atmosphere, and the living world of plants, animals and other lifeforms that make up our beautiful jewel of a planet.
In the areas of allied health and social work, we already focus on the immediate needs of those around us. We work with love, compassion and kindness to alleviate suffering and promote healing and growth. On Friday the 20th of September, we are being asked – by leaders in the environmental movement, by school students who can see their very future crumbling before them, by climate scientists and communicators the world over – to strike for climate action. I call upon you now to
• commit to this action and to make your commitment public;
• talk with your colleagues about how to keep everybody safe (rostering skeleton staff who are prepared to stay on at work to ensure public safety while others strike);
• make a statement of support for the general strike’s aims, which are to call upon world leaders in politics and industry to support serious and immediate climate action such as complete transformation of energy to a carbon neutral world; and to
• enable your organisation, department or corporation to professionally and compassionately manage this day in support of climate action, as meaningful participants in the most important movement of our times, in ways that promote the transformation of our own work practices in alignment with a carbon neutral global society.
Yours in civil disobedience, Geoff Berry
*NB: Please feel free to use this form and sign off with your own name, to adapt in any way you see fit as long as you don’t edit out the environmentally activist intent, and share as widely and freely as you can.