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The summer’s worldwide climate strikes, led by children and teenagers, have proven to be both galvanizing and important.

But as 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg keeps emphasizing, dealing with climate change shouldn’t be the job of children. For one thing, we can’t wait for these alarmed young people to grow old enough to take leadership positions to enact policies or invent new technologies – or even, in many cases, to vote. Adults need to step up to the job. It’s they who need to be galvanized.

But, you may think, even if just to yourself, “What can I do all alone?” It’s a common refrain.

One easy answer: stop being alone. Find other people to work with. Start your own group. Or join one that feels right for you.

Here are a few sample ideas.

First, for a laugh about how adults should not react to the youth-led strikes, watch this YouTube video of a Greta Thunberg Helpline (“For adults angry at a child”).

To help yourself get going, even if it is just by talking, read this very good essay by Alex Steffen, “How to Be Young in a Climate Emergency.”

Two well-known groups are 350.org, which focuses on keeping fossil fuels in the ground, mainly through widespread grassroots activism, and the Citizens’ Climate Lobby, which trains people to engage elected officials in bipartisan conversations about carbon fee and dividend plans.

You needn't join in any official way to take inspiration from these groups. Click To Tweet

If one of your jobs is being a parent, you might want to look at Moms Clean Air Force, Mothers Out Front (recognized by the UN with one of its Global Climate Action Awards), and Ecodads. And check the Australian group 1 Million Women, especially its Facebook feed, which is full of concrete daily changes you could make. These groups engage in activism, politics, education, reducing carbon consumption in daily life, and more. You needn’t join in any official way to take inspiration from them.

Last, but far from least, if you’re old enough to be a grandparent, with a deep well of experience and knowledge to draw from, a seasoned heart and mind, and some time and passion to give, take a look at Elders Climate Action.


This series is curated and written by retired Colorado State University English professor and close climate change watcher SueEllen Campbell of Colorado. To flag works you think warrant attention, send an e-mail to her any time. Let us hear from you.

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