On Friday, my 12-year-old son carried his handmade cardboard protest sign to one of the thousands of climate strikes around the world, along with five of his classmates. His sign read, “Where you gonna hide from the hell you made?” This die-hard rock ’n’ roll fan had tapped an obscure song by his favorite band—Queen—called “White Man,” about the genocide of Native Americans, and picked out the perfect line to describe his rage at our human-made climate crisis.
My angry preteen was one of an estimated 4 million people who marched all over the planet Friday in what is considered the largest climate change-related protest action in history. The size and scope of the Global Climate Strike was breathtaking. According to Vox, “There were over 2,500 events scheduled in over 163 countries on all seven continents.” In New York City alone, which is where the United Nations climate conference was held Monday, a whopping 250,000 people showed up for an event that had been permitted for 5,000 attendees. And at events the world over, young people, outraged at the folly of adults, dared us to do better.