Sustainability and the Fridays for future and the Extinction Rebellion youth movements

Fridays For Future, is a youth-led and -organised global climate strike movement that started in August 2018, when 15-year-old Greta Thunberg began a school strike for climate. In the three weeks leading up to the Swedish election, she sat outside Swedish Parliament every school day, demanding urgent action on the climate crisis. She was tired of society’s unwillingness to see the climate crisis for what it is: a crisis. To begin with, she was alone, but she was soon joined by others. On the 8th of September, Greta and her fellow school strikers decided to continue their strike until the Swedish policies provided a safe pathway well under 2° C, i.e. in line with the Paris agreement. They created the hashtag #FridaysForFuture, and encouraged other young people all over the world to join them. This marked the beginning of the global school strike for climate. Their call for action sparked an international awakening, with students and activists uniting around the globe to protest outside their local parliaments and city halls. Along with other groups across the world, Fridays for Future is part of a hopeful new wave of change, inspiring millions of people to take action on the climate crisis, and we want you to become one of us!

In addition, the engaged and concerned youth of today have created the extinction rebellion. It throws a spotlight on man made climate change. The aim is to show how commercial and government enterprises are failing to address the disastrous climate change which threatens life on earth. These commercial and government enterprises use economic excuses, propaganda and misinformation to delay the needed changes. Enterprises like Exxon used the so-called 'tobacco playbook' to create fake news and throw doubt on climate science. The tobacco playbook was a set of activities created by the tobacco industry to deny the deadly effects of tobacco. The question we should always ask ourselves is:"what is the motivation driving the actions?". For the tobacco industry, the oil, plastics and coal industries, and the weapons industry the motivation is profit - earning money at the expense of other people; either through causing direct individual death, or by creating a climate that kills thousands and millions..

The answer lies in sustainability. This means changing the current economic growth model and resource use scenario to a balanced approach. STARS provides an environmental theme with suggestions on how to achieve sustainability. This theme explains the climate change science. Remember science is based on FACTS, but opinion and misinformation are based upon beliefs (which are very often not factual). Sustainability reaches beyond just the climate change issue, to cover:

  • overconsumption
  • overpollution
  • overpopulation
  • over use of resources

To support youth initiatives in areas like sustainability and the extinction rebellion, the STARS Sustainability Foundation would like to sponsor youth efforts. We want to receive your ideas, proposals for live and virtual  events, web and social media.

The best ideas with actual application will be eligible for the STARS youth sustainability prize. Our criteria include:

  • Impact - demonstrable public outcomes
  • Originality
  • Longevity
  • Alignment to sustainable environmental and climate goals
  • People involved

Contact us to learn more, to propose something, or show what you have already achieved.

The Doughnut Economic model by Kate Raworth

I recommend the doughnut economic model by Kate Raworth. A full description of this brilliant yet simple economic model is available on Kate's website. In the crisis state we are facing, this economic model provides a clear means to balance econmics beteween social, environmental and resource sustainability needs. As quoted from Kate's website:

"Humanity’s 21st century challenge is to meet the needs of all within the means of the planet. In other words, to ensure that no one falls short on life’s essentials (from food and housing to healthcare and political voice), while ensuring that collectively we do not overshoot our pressure on Earth’s life-supporting systems, on which we fundamentally depend – such as a stable climate, fertile soils, and a protective ozone layer. The Doughnut of social and planetary boundaries is a playfully serious approach to framing that challenge, and it acts as a compass for human progress this century."

The model is actually being used by the City of Amsterdam, among others. If governments and wealthy individuals want to really save the planet, then they need to embrace all the principles in the model and act accordingly. Together with the STARS Environmental theme, these provide a realisable way to achieve sustainability.