“Indigenous peoples have been on the frontlines of the climate crisis, and we know how to live in balance with the Earth. And so, when we’re talking about solutions, we have to include indigenous peoples in the conversation. So, let’s protect our indigenous peoples, their rights, their communities, their way of life, because that’s what we’re going to need when we go into this battle.” – Tokata Iron Eyes
This past Friday, millions of protesters around the world joined their voices together to demand action on climate change. Parents and children of the Hawthorne Playschool were inspired to see so many people taking action together for a better planet.
Big topics like climate change can be scary to young minds, so teacher Susan engaged the children in a lighter way: with an invitation to consider ways we care for animals, people and places we love. We talked about how each of us can help take care of the Earth. Children shared their ideas to take care of the Earth, like growing food with fewer chemicals, protecting animals and recycling.
We used the family share for parents to have individual conversations with their child about protecting our Earth. Children learned the following about Greta Thunberg, the young activist and organizer at the heart of the climate protests: “Greta is a 16 year-old-girl – a big kid – who is a hero. She is called a climate activist. That means Greta tells everyone she knows that it’s important to take care of our planet Earth. She is angry that some people don’t take care of our trees, animals, air and water. Greta uses her words to remind people how important it is to take care of the Earth and all of us who live on it.”
Families were invited to sign their names if they agree with Greta and children were invited to share one favorite animal they want to protect. Later, in the classroom, children made their own signs for a march around the neighborhood, sharing their message to protect animals, clean water and access to healthy food. This week we’ll revisit the climate march, inviting children to chant at circle and sharing photos of young activists who protested in downtown Portland last Friday.
“B was so excited to show me how she learned to march at school today! She was proud and I was too! Her favorite things about this week at HFP were marching and learning how to care for animals. Her favorite part about marching is fighting for how she believes. Looks like we’ve got a little activist on our hands!”
– Liz, HFP parent
“With a background in social work and my own activism that flourished in college, I naturally have wanted to teach my own children ways to be change agents in our community. Last year, I brought my 4-year-old son, A, to a rally at the Oregon State Capital. He witnessed people chanting and holding signs which sparked a lot of curiosity. Upon hearing that Teacher Susan would be talking about climate activist Greta Thunberg, I used this as an opportunity to show A Greta’s Instagram page and talk to him about how she is mobilizing people all over the world. He was intrigued that such a young person was motivating so many people and he was eager to see all of her photos. He wanted to know why these marches are happening and I told him because people are not loving our planet and that she is trying to communicate to people that we need to take better care of our mother earth. I have brought this full circle by growing our own food and intentionally involving A in that process- to the planting of the seeds, the watering, and the harvesting. When we get food from our garden and eat it, we often thank the plants for bestowing us with wonderful gifts. I believe that one of the most accessible ways we can start teaching our littlest ones about activism is found in the simplicity of planting seeds and growing food. For when there is a connection to the earth, there is a connection that expands to all plants, animals, and humans, and an interconnectedness that fosters more love, kindness, and gratitude.”
– Cyan, HFP parent
“Young people of color have been doing the work to fight climate change for hundreds of years. It’s something that we are born into. We’ve lived in an extractive economy our entire lives; we come from a generation of families that have to live through this extraction and we know what it is, we know how it affects us, and we know what kind of change we want to see.”- Nyiesha Mallet, an 18-year-old artist and activist from Brooklyn, N.Y.
Check out 350.org’s catchy music video featuring a range of youth: “We’re Gonna Strike For You. Will You Strike For Us?”
Check out Raffi’s music video “Young People Marching” celebrating this recent wave of social activism in protection of our Earth.