On Thursday, May 2, the entire school participated in No Trash Day. We turned the classroom trash cans upside down and only used the bins in the hall. The goal was to see whether we could be more conscious about what we throw out. This special sustainability event was organized by third graders, Emma Meade and Delphine Levenson, students in Sally and Laura’s class. You can read more about that on our Ecorama Blog! Their social action reminded me of my travels over spring break, where I had the opportunity to observe civic action in Great Britain. As mentioned last week, I saw children as young as four participating in a protest against standardized testing, but that was not all I saw.
Earlier in the week, I visited Marble Arch where I observed the Extinction Rebellion. What is the Extinction Rebellion you may ask? Apparently, some of the British folks are fed up with the government’s lack of action to combat the impact of climate change. Modeled on Occupy Wall Street, the Extinction Rebellion was a two-week protest in which UK citizens were camping out around the city.
The day I was there, they were housed in Marble Arch, an area not too far from government buildings. I observed many a tent erected, a soup kitchen, a t-shirt printing station, a Quaker Meeting, and a planning meeting, in which the organizers discussed strategies with participants. I observed a wellness station and music and dancing. It felt a little bit like 1968.
But through it all, I observed hundreds of people gathered with a simple request; to ask their government to take action around climate change.
It was peaceful and it was thoughtful. It was community organizing, organizing, which demonstrated the power of the human voice as well as the ability of people to come together to effect change. It was an exciting and hopeful moment.
As we teach our children about the impact of human behavior on the earth, we teach too about the power of humans to effect change. This peaceful gathering was a model of just that.
After recess in the playground, fourth grade student in Jess and Carrie’s class, Amari Benton, made a sweeping gesture as he looked up at the building and he said, “Anna, this school that you own. It is a very fun place to be.”