Youth for Our Planet | News

Climate Striking in Greece

Hey everyone, My name is Michael I'm a 16-year-old unfortunate climate activist, who coordinates strikes in Israel. You know, I used to be a very loving individual, I used to love lots of stuff. Stuff’s lovely. I love the feeling of fresh air, I love babies and their cute little noses and most of all I love the human smile. But unfortunately, I haven't been able to Smile genuinely recently. I have started to hate quite a lot of things honestly. For example, I hate the idea that I have to be on stages trying my best to convince that climate change is important enough to act against. Its not just important it’s necessary. Climate change is a fact. A fact is something that is not supposed to be debate about. I hate the fact that people debate about climate change, I hate the fact that the parties in Israel do not include our demands in their political agenda towards the election. That has taken my smile away. That’s why I started to be a climate activist. My sole motivation is to try to bring my smile back, and that's why I participated in SMILE this year, and what place is better to try to get a smile back than SMILE itself. For people who haven't heard of SMILE, because the Israeli media does not evaluate the event enough, it is the climate summit of Fridays for Future. Summer Meeting IN Lausanne Europe, or simply SMILE, which had over 450 attendees from over 38 countries. In Smile, I participated in 5 days of long discussions about climate change, the science and moreover with the people. After five extremely emotional days, we passed the climate declaration of Lausanne and the demands, which are to keep the global temperature rise below 1.5 Celsius compared to pre-industrialized levels ensure climate justice and equity listen for the best available united science Here is something that I haven’t really opened up before. I have recently moreover of hating I have started to feel a bit stressed and climate anxious. And At the conference, I also met others who were climate anxious. There were people suffering from mass depression caused by climate anxiety. And it is not only me, or 10 people or a fraction of the conference or even all the participants. no. In the US alone climate anxiety was listed as the 4th most frequent reason for depression. And I understand that.I have experienced that first hand, when I have had to go sleepless nights of studying the Paris agreement and the IPCC report. I have had to read over literally a 1000 pages of scientific studies and university material, while a high school student. High School students and teens are not meant to do that. At all. I have had to skip school and suffer from pressure and work stress as a 16-year-old without any pay because the adults who are getting paid are not doing the right thing. I really sincerely do not understand, who would want to put on a child the pressure of “the world, our existence and everything we call life is on your responsibility” and if we don't act, I would personally feel one to blame. And that's why I hate. I hate the fact that 250 000 people are dying every year because of climate change, I hate the fact that we are risking over several hundreds of millions of people to poverty and death, I hate the fact that my kid who hasn't been born yet, statistically has a realistic possibility of dying malnourishment or lack of water and if he continues to live he will never see the magnificent coral reefs of Eilat because all the coral reefs are expected to go extinct. I hate the fact that climate change is an ecological, economic, humanitarian and now a mental health-related crisis. And we really don't have any time left. You know, I article to a friend of mine and she asked me why do I worry about my children so much? Why don’t I worry nor mention me. What happens to me in 10 years. By the time we reach 2030 I'm going to be 27. The answer is because I don't know. I don't think about it, because I am 16 I don't know what do I want to do in 2 years time, I don't know what do I want to do in the army or after or what I'm going to be or where Im going to be. Most teens don’t know because they are teens and it makes them anxious. and Instead of worrying about where I should go in the army I have to worry about literally the future of the world and the future of the next generation. Its devastating and I’m not going to start urging politicians here or anywhere to start acting. A lot of times I hear climate activists in this region praying for actions from their politicians in a tone of I apologizing, but In my opinion its the time for climate activists become more bold and unapologetic. Change is coming whether you like it or not and We literally don’t have time waste. I just want to go to school, get a uni degree and have a steady life, but apparently in the 21 century that is way too much to ask. I want to be able to smile and continue to love but I have been left no other options than to hate. Please bring my smile back. There is a lot of things we can do. The only right thing is to get into net-zero carbon emission as fast as possible. Just follow the scientists. That’s all we want. This is my individual story and motivation of activism. SMILE was wonderful and I’m sure we are going to enjoy lot more of them in the future. While writing this article I decided to open up about my own climate anxiety and after writing it I made another version in a form of a speech, which I performed in front of the a very authoritative political candidate in Israel- the party leader of kahol laval, who is projected to possibly win the election this year. My name is Michael Bäcklund and if any of the readers would like to get in contact, discuss climate anxiety or share their views with me, feel more than free to direct message or follow me on instagram of twitter @mina_mihku