We’ve all seen the pictures of young Greta Thunberg on her very first solo strike for climate change, outside Swedish parliament in 2018 – a courageous move that has led to over four million (and counting) people all over the world coming together and taking to the streets in support of the same cause. On Friday September 27, 2019, as this #weekforfuture comes to an end, it’s Ibiza’s turn to step up to the protest plate at an organised rally that will march from Parque de la Paz in Ibiza town to Vara de Rey at 6pm – and we are going to BRING THE THUNBERG!
Not literally of course, as it would probably take the world’s most famous teenage activist around three weeks to reach us by sea from her current location in New York, but we’ll be invoking her brave spirit to show the world that despite all that glitz and glam (and its accompanying waste and carbon footprint) found here on this little island in the Mediterranean, there are real human beings with hearts and souls who believe we should be fighting for our future. Come one, come all, whether you’re young, old or in-between; whether you’re a parent, a grandparent, or someone without kids at all; whether you’re a student, a graduate, a dropout or a teacher – your voice is important and it needs to be heard.
While striking for climate change tomorrow is indeed important, we also HAVE to do more. We have to do more than just watch and share videos of the sad little pigtailed figurehead for climate change give her impassioned pleas to the United Nation. We have to do more than just raising awareness through social media, more than joining activism groups, more than using hashtags and more than talking about how veganism will change the world. Strike, yes, by all means strike. Follow Greta’s example and strike on #fridaysforfuture, but in addition to turning up, you’ve also got to act.
Now – that’s certainly easier said than done, right? We’re not scientists (well, aside from those of us who are). We’re not in control of the technology that can help reduce global warming, if such technology even exists (apart from those of us who are – but I’m not sure they’re reading my blog). We’re not in politics and can’t pass bills or actions that can make the world stop in its tracks and eliminate greenhouse gas emissions rather than reduce them (except for those people who are – if you’re reading this, please help us!). So, what can we, the normal, everyday people do, aside from strike?
First of all, it’s important to realise that we don’t need to be perfect. I read a great quote the other day: ‘We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.’ I think about this often when I’m holding an empty plastic butter container, or and thinking, it would just be better to throw it in the bin so that my recycling bins don’t start to stink in summer. Some days my conscience wins, and it gets recycled. Other days, well, let’s just say I’m not a saint. (Please don’t send me any hate mail!) But the fact is, I DO recycle most of my glass, plastic and paper on a weekly basis. And this, is one of the things we can all do that contributes to reducing global warming. “Oh, but the Ibiza recycling plant is a farce and half of it just goes in landfills,” say the local conspiracy theorists.
Now, I don’t confess to know the real live facts but what I do know is – surely HALF of your waste being recycled is better than none at all? Isn’t it better to think with a recycled glass half full attitude? In addition to recycling, we can all do our best to buy or use less plastic – that’s all, just do our best, no one is asking you to be a poster child for the plastic free movement. I bought those trendy little mesh bags to weigh your veggies in at the supermarket and I have lots of lovely woven baskets to carry them home in. Do they always come to the grocery store with me? No. I’m human. Sometimes I go to the store spontaneously and I end up with some extra plastic around the house (that I re-use). But most days, I DO MY BEST, which is better than doing nothing at all.
There are loads of other ways we can contribute to a sustainable future: drive less, walk more. Sure, it’s not always possible if you live down a long and bumpy camino in Ibiza but DO WHAT YOU CAN. Use less heat and air conditioning – wear warmer clothes, or less clothes, depending on the season. Use less hot water in general – use the cold cycles on your washing machine and invest in a smart showerhead that reduces the water flow, thus the energy required to heat it. Buy energy efficient whitegoods, lightbulbs, cars… if you’re in a position to. If you have the means to switch to solar power, do it! But if you don’t, why not just turn off the lights and any electrical goods if you’re not using them in a room? Take your mobile phone or laptop charger out of the wall if the device isn’t plugged in. It’s such a small detail in our lives, but if millions of us did it when we can, if not all the time, it can make a difference.
If veganism seems too strict for you, or if the thought of a meat-free diet is too much to bear that’s OK too. We don’t all have to commit to being vegetarian or vegan to save the planet. But we CAN reduce our consumption of animal products. Take me for example: I am one of the biggest meat eaters I know (my Chinese Medicine Doctor told me my blood type needs red meat regularly, and the way I feel when I follow her advice seems to agree), but I’m more than happy to switch out a bolognaise for a spicy tomato pasta once a week or to substitute the meat with aubergine. Maybe one day I will find a plant-based substitute I am satisfied with permanently. But in the meantime, I DO MY BEST.
There will inevitably be some activists, or keyboard warriors, who will say my best isn’t enough. Sure, I agree, we all have to do better. But we also have to commit to starting somewhere – even if that means a rogue plastic butter container ends up in a landfill for thousands of years. Being negative about our small contributions is not going to serve the planet. The legendary activist David Suzuki once said: ‘In a world of more than seven billion people, each of us is a drop in the bucket. But with enough drops, we can fill any bucket.’ And that’s the kind of activism we should all be able to easily get on board with. When it comes to climate change, I don’t have the answers. Greta Thunberg doesn’t have the answers either – and she’s right: the grown-ups of the world shouldn’t be looking to her, or her generation, for hope. She didn’t ever profess to be able to save the world, but she’s single-handedly brought the issue of climate into the global consciousness.
We are at an historic turning point in world history, and ‘the world’, so to speak, needs to do more than just listen – most importantly it needs to act. Those who have the answers, those who are responsible for finding the answers, and especially those who are in charge of implementing the answers, need to be made to feel pressure and that’s what strikes like tomorrow’s rally in Ibiza are all about. See you in Parque de la Paz at 6pm. Let’s make Ibiza Greta again. White Ibiza will be closed tomorrow afternoon as part of the global #strikeforclimate movement.