OP/ED: Our World is Burning But The Fire is Not New

A lot of pictures taken recently of Earth show our world on fire. Why? In a few words, we have lost a big part of our most effective climate stabilizer. It’s not new, global warming has always existed for us, teenagers. The question is how can we help the world at our local level? In Europe, teenagers have already engaged in this battle against the war on climate change.


Some Students In My School During A Strike (Tabatha Menten-Lincoln Lion Tales)


In Europe, our eyes have been opened to global warming thanks to one girl: Greta Thunberg.
In 2008, this fifteen year girl, from Sweden, decided to take time off from school to protest in front of the Swedish parliament. Her request was simple: Reduce carbon production. By staying three weeks in front of the parliament, Greta has created a movement well-known in Europe: “School strike for climate.”

The Snowball Effect

She was the first to stand up for environmental change, she was the first to walk out of school for environmental change, but she didn’t stay the only soldier in this war for a long time. Her movement has touched a lot of students around the world. Generation Z, our generation, decided to defend the cause of climate by any means necessary. “School strike for climate” became more popular in a few months and on December 2018, more than 20,000 students had held strikes in more than 270 cities.

In Belgium

Remember, I’m an exchange student from Belgium. My country wasn’t the exception, and we began to strike at school for climate on January 10. Every Thursday, students from Belgium went to Brussels, the capital, and walked to bring awareness of this major problem. By not going to school the first Thursday, only 3,000 students participated, but the third Thursday, we were already more than 35,000 strong. Our movement was named: “Hotter Than the Climate,” and gathered students for a peaceful walk for five months every Thursday. Our goal was to convince the government to take more important measures for the climate.

My Experience

As 35,000 other students in Belgium, I have walked for the climate. I have struck school to defend a just cause. A just cause who can allow us to have a safer future — or, more urgently, just a future. So I’ve taken the train with my friends, I created a poster that said: I don’t want to survive, I want to live. I’ve walked with my 34,999 schoolmates. Some kids were just there to walk, others were there to shout their anger, others to show their thoughts with posters. Those who have marked me are: Make love, not CO2, Change the system not the climate, There’s no planet B.

Some Students In Brussel During One Of The Walk (Tabatha Menten-Lincoln Lion Tales)

What Can We Do? 

You may be thinking, “We are students, we can’t do anything.” False!

Even if we are students, even if we are young, we can help the planet. How? First try to replace your plastic water bottle with a gourd, or replace your plastic bottle with a glass one. Try to save water by turning off the tap while you wash your teeth and while you do the dishes. Use a bike or even the bus instead of a car for short distances. There’s so many little things that we can do, if everybody does those little things maybe they can become big things.

What do you do for the planet? Let us know in the comments below!