|Issue 19 : 4 December 2007|
Sorry for the long gap since the last issue – plenty of reasons, no excuses.
This issue of Communiqué is dedicated to the children. To today’s children. To the children yet to be born. To tomorrow’s child. Isn’t it time for us to listen very carefully to their voices?
Of course, with the ever-growing awareness of the seriousness of the situation we’re in it’s easy to doubt that words – especially a child's – can do any good. But read on to find out how a few words – or, more precisely, a few letters – have changed the world before, and will change it again.
When I heard Bianca Jagger speak at the 'Sky's the Limit' conference I immediately committed to lend my full support to KidsCall, a simple and unique initiative to change the world.
KidsCall, led by the World Future Council, is amazing. Don’t be fooled by its simplicity or the fact that anyone could have done this. They did it! Now it’s down to all of us to help. Invite a child you know to tell it how they see it: to tell world leaders their dreams, and to demand action on a scale to match the crisis.
Mikhail Gorbachev, the former Russian president, whose contribution to the end of the Cold War was so great, has given us magical insights into how top politics works. He confessed that personal letters from young children have had a profound impact on world leaders in the past.
My two daughters, Martha and Grace (aged 12 and 8) have each written a letter to ‘The President’ (or ‘pressadent’ in Grace’s case!) about climate change. Martha signed off her letter: “It’s your choice, you can do something. Love, Martha Hampton”. A picture of Grace's letter is shown below. I’m encouraging our local primary schools to take part – I even offered to pay the postage! I’m optimistic I will get a yes!
It’s time for the children – and the child in us all – to lead, and to call on leaders to lead. It’s no use debating targets for the year 2050. We need a carbon detox now and in 2008. Be part of the crescendo, the chorus of calls to world leaders to study the score and face the music.
Over 1,000 of you subscribe to this newsletter, and you are highly influential. So... do you wanna come out and play?!
Do the write thing for your kids
Encourage at least one child you know to write a letter to a politician. Let them express their hopes and fears. Let them share their dream of a world free from the dark shadow of climate crisis.
If you are blessed with children, get them to write. If your children are too young to write themselves, pen something simple in their name. Invite a parent you know to join in. Enroll a teacher or a keen green parent. But do promote the idea – this week. See what a bulge in the post bags we can create together.
Let’s get all these letters sent off now, in their thousands, before the Christmas break. If enough people write, maybe it will help make the children’s climate wishes come true.
Harry Potter fans may remember the scene in the first film when an endless torrent of letters pours into the house of Harry’s oppressive aunt and uncle, The Dursleys. Of course, it’s more about quality than quantity. Just one child’s letter may do the trick, but a huge sack of letters surely can’t do any harm!
All the information you need can be found at www.kidscall.info and letters should be sent to:
The Political Leaders
Post script: On checking the final draft of this newsletter I realised that I had not actually posted my daughters' letters yet – how easily I could have fallen at the last hurdle and achieved nothing! Suitably embarrassed, I posted them today. Later, when I told the girls, “I posted your letters to the President today!” I was highly rewarded: first with looks of slight disbelief, then with proud grins. Priceless! How many other young people can say they have written to the President?!
Much of this issue is inspired by the amazing ‘Sky’s The Limit’ conference I attended recently in Westminster.
It wasn’t easy: we faced our deepest fears and vowed to confront them together. We were treated to the very brightest speakers, thinkers, sensors, feelers, poets and authors. To give you a flavour, I’d like to share the start of Drew Dellinger’s dream poem:
it's 3:23 in the morning
as the mammals, reptiles, birds were all dying?
what did you do
You can read the full poem at www.drewdellinger.org
Geoff Thompson, MBE, is executive chairman of UK charity The Youth Charter, and former five-times world karate champion. I’ve been lucky enough to work with him to spread the message in schools by running Carbonwise climate workshops.
Geoff has dedicated his working life to fighting the needless, tragic loss of life of our young people on the streets of our communities. Here’s why he believes global warming is such a significant issue:
"It’s a tragedy that our young people kill one another on the streets – this is a product of society. It’s also a tragedy that mankind is killing planet earth, creating climate change and therefore devaluing the future of this earth – our youth. There’s so much we can do, but human nature only reacts when tragedy occurs, and in this case, it will be too late. We must take action to develop and instill a sense of self-worth and responsibility for self, community and planet earth."
STOP PRESS: AVAAZ gives youth a strong voice in Bali
“Become part of this global movement and stand in solidarity with over 200 youth in Bali, who will present your message to delegates at the UN conference. Help us make an impact, SEND YOUR MESSAGE NOW!”
Plus, if any of you haven’t signed the 500,000 strong Avaaz climate change petition yet please do so now:
Planet Earth we have a problem…
“There now exists a state of planetary emergency,” declared David Wasdell on day two of the Sky’s The Limit conference. His inspirational talk received a standing ovation. David is one of very few people brave enough to tell it as it is. I highly recommend a new book: Westminster Briefing: Planet Earth we Have a Problem – Feedback Dynamics and The Acceleration of Climate Change. It’s desperately chilling, but only by facing up to how bad things have become can we respond on an appropriate scale to fix them.
To glimpse some of the amazing conclusions of the Westminster Briefing, and to order a copy of Planet Earth we Have a Problem, visit:
The Big Melt
For another brave glimpse into the abyss, visit www.carbonequity.info/PDFs/Arctic.pdf
This report concludes that Arctic floating sea ice is headed towards rapid summer disintegration as early as 2013, a century ahead of the IPCC projections. The rapid loss of Arctic sea ice will speed up the disintegration of the Greenland ice sheet, and a rise in sea levels by even as much as five metres by the end of this century is possible, the report concludes.
I’d never really bothered to listen to the lyrics of Bob Dylan’s genius visionary song A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall. I have now.
The Hard Rain exhibition of photos and Dylan’s lyric is now touring the planet and will be seen by over 10 million visitors. If you get the chance – go!
…and purple rain
Carbon dioxide is visible now: it’s purple, and the sky is changing colour with every gallon of fossil fuel we burn. But people power can stop this. Purple people can go green.
Some of you will be familiar with the idea of wearing purple clothing to show support for those demanding a rapid end to dirty power. Environmental activist and author Vandana Shiva reminds us that burning fossil fuel is a recent perversion. I’m planning to announce a national ‘wear purple’ day again next year, and I’m told that purple is the new black, so kit out your wardrobe now.
The shoe size children would choose for adults
It’s time for children to gain basic ‘carbon numeracy’ and size up their parents’ carbon feet. After all, they don’t want their parents ridiculed in the ruthless playground of the adult world. They’d like us to tread a tad more lightly on their planet – who knows, it could catch on!
It’s not too late to turn this ship around
For one thing, civic society is not one supertanker, nor one Titanic. We are each free to choose to love the future. We may look a bit stiff, and it’s true we are all interconnected, but each and every one of us can be free. A shoal of fish may look solid but it comprises many thousands of little fish, free to do thousands of quick U-turns – just like that!
We are not lemmings. Climate justice is coming.
To close this issue I bring you the lyrics of a truly remarkable rap/poem that was performed by a gifted young man, Bruce Haynes, with shocking adult-rated lines! I pray all adults will hear this.
I sense a new world dawning
You can read the rest of the poem on my website via the link below.
Drop me an email
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