From New York City to Ottawa, schools are giving kids a free pass if they want to be at the “in” climate change march on Sept. 27. McGill practically invited students to go, asking staff not to schedule “exams or graded activities, and be understanding about absences.” Don’t try cutting class and telling the teacher or prof you were at some uncool cause like a pro-life rally, of course. But in France you can even steal stuff for Mother Earth and the judge will smile and wink at you. The question is: If the Establishment is on your side, who or what exactly are you protesting?
It is extraordinary the extent to which schools, almost all of which are government-run and hence part of the Establishment, are on board with would-be anti-Establishment climate protests generally and this march in particular. And of course the New York Times is totally on board, calling the march “A global call for action on climate change” in which “Youth-led demonstrations have begun around the world to urge leaders to address the warming planet…. The demonstrations come before a climate summit at the United Nations next week.”
The assumption being that world leaders have not acted on climate change. Yet there are very few issues for which world leaders have done more, including regularly gathering for their ritual summits. We wish, in fact, that they would occasionally talk about something else. So what exactly is it the protesters want? Apparently New York teachers want to go to the cool kid protest too but can’t because some nit-picky jaundiced observers might claim it violates the legal requirement for a “politically neutral learning environment” which the Times managed to compare with Iranian restrictions on free speech.
The Times certainly has no such qualms about its own coverage. Instead it adds that “Our Opinion section wants to share young people’s illustrations and videos with the world. Here’s how you can send them to us.” If your video says climate alarmism is unscientific or that the Paris Treaty is doomed to fail or that kids should go to school and hit the books (or take the Global Warming Policy Forum climate quiz) instead of hitting the bricks, we wouldn’t advise submitting it because the link in question says “Are You Going to the Climate Protest? We Want to See Your Sign!” It’s 1968 out there, man.
And like protests of yore, you sometimes wonder if the marchers would actually like the outcome they are demanding. Like Amazon employees protesting their company’s supposed lack of environmental conscience; do they want to deliver packages on foot?
Oddly, just as the New York Times was telling us how crucial it all was, the Times of London urged us to “Win a luxury spa break to the Berkshire countryside… This incredible getaway includes a glass of Taittinger Champagne on arrival, a stay in an exquisite luxury suite, a seven-course tasting menu” and lots of other carbon-intensive stuff right down to the bubbles in the champagne.
Meanwhile Climate Home News illustrates the paradox, proclaiming that "During the next few days the world will witness the best and worst of our collective effort to stop heating the planet. The best – a youth-inspired protest that organisers are billing as the biggest climate mobilisation in history – will be seen in cities and towns across the globe on Friday…. The worst we’ll witness on Monday when the UN secretary general convenes national leaders for a summit in New York. The leaders speaking will be from vanguard countries, those who have satisfied the UN chief’s demand for greater, faster cuts to carbon. But Chloé Farand reports that more than 100 countries applied to address the summit and almost half of them were rejected by the UN on the grounds that their plans were not ambitious.”
Among those booted from the podium is evidently the United States. Seriously. The host country and world’s leading economy was deplatformed. Childish hardly begins to describe it.
So the best is when ill-informed youth call on leaders to act. The worst is when they do. Tricky.