The views expressed in this article are the views of the author.
While studying abroad, it’s easy to get quite isolated in terms of news. It’s true that I was happy to escape some of the intense political turmoil in the United States. However, being in London is not much easier. Now I am a foreigner and the news is filled with terminology that’s unclear and very different from terms used in the States.
With Brexit looming and countries at each other’s throats, there is one key issue that rarely gets on the docket: we all share the same planet. But now, with the help of Greta Thunberg and youth worldwide, the Global Climate Strikes are in full display everywhere. It’s easy to see that this is an issue that spans language barriers, culture shock and oceans.
Over breakfast this morning, we excitedly watched as crowds of people strode past our tiny coffee shop. The barista remarked that he “should be out there right now!” Unfortunately, we had an orientation for our university.
But when I approached the teeming crowds later on in the day, the crowd was booming. As the people, including many small children, stood by Parliament and shouted and sang and chanted about climate change, it gave a marvelous perspective to what might otherwise have been another day of reporting political turmoil, confusion and hatred.
Here, people were gathered as a part of something much larger, happy to be filmed and photographed. Many people are holding their children. Children in many places, including London, were allowed the day off of school today.
But while it was cheering and incredibly relieving to see the crowd of people, people who care about the planet, it was also overwhelming. The number of children in high school, middle school and even elementary school holding up handmade scrawling signs with pleading slogans was heartbreaking.
Why should the youth be bearing the burdens of other generations? The question begs to be answered. But until then, these strikes and their grassroots energy show no signs of backing down.
Anjali DasSarma is currently studying abroad in London. Photos by Anjali DasSarma.