A Time of Crises and Protests
Protests are powerful. They are an organized emotional reaction to problems that no one individual person can stand up to on their own. More and more protests are appearing in news feeds as they break out around the world. While protesting has been around for centuries, this era is unique.
We live in a time of environmental crisis and severe economic inequality. Countries and their citizens are connected in a way that is unprecedented throughout our history; protests are no longer isolated events, but are broadcasted to the globe. Students and youth are becoming increasingly involved to speak out against a multitude of issues that are going to profoundly impact their future. This is a crucial time and there is a window of opportunity to steer the future in a positive direction.
Throughout human history, there have never been larger issues facing humanity that can bring us together. World leaders are not taking anywhere near sufficient action to curb carbon emissions enough to prevent a huge disruption in climate. The increasing gap between the rich and poor has led to stagnant wages, decreased life expectancy in major countries like the United States, and bleaker career prospects for young people starting out in life. Rampant corruption in governments persist as right-wing leaders spring up in Brazil, America, England, and beyond. The promise of a future with revolutionary technologies and automation exists simultaneously alongside the fear of a dystopian nightmare with rising sea levels and wealth in the hands of the very few.
From Greta Thunberg and climate strikes, to students in India challenging the right-wing Prime Minister, protest has been a powerful tool against despair. Millions took part in the global climate strike that was led by students around the world. The youngest of us will face the worst of increased global temperatures, and hence their outspokenness has the greatest potential to stir action by governments. Right-wing leaders like Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro and India’s Narendra Modi are enacting policies that are a direct challenge to the progressive views of many young people. Modi’s government has routinely threatened the safety of Muslims. Their controversial citizenship law ensures that numerous minority groups will not be deemed illegal immigrations, with the notable exception of Muslims. Students in India have staged protests at university campuses, even with police involvement leading to beatings, tear gas, and hospitalization. Young people are more aware than ever of injustices in the world, and more and more of them are ready to fight back.
It is easy to look at all the emerging quandaries of this century and sulk in despair. It is just as easy to ignore them. Your future and upcoming generations cannot afford either of these reactions. This is the time to join climate strikes, show solidarity with protests around the globe, and vote for progressive politicians who will usher in the changes we need. Seek out protests happening in your area and take a bit of time out of your day to join. Like, share, and comment on social media posts regarding protests around the world. That promising future is still very much viable, but it must be earned.
BBC News. “Do today’s global protests have anything in common?” https://www.bbc.com/news/world-50123743
Beckett, Andy. “The age of crisis: how the 2010s disrupted everything but resolved nothing.” The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/dec/17/decade-of-perpetual-crisis-2010s-disrupted-everything-but-resolved-nothing
Samuel, Sigal. “India’s students are in full revolt against a new citizenship law that excludes Muslims.” Vox. https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/2019/12/16/21024306/india-protests-muslim-citizenship-amendment-bill