The independent London newspaper

Take a message of hope from our young generation

03 October, 2019

Families who have lost loved ones: Nuro Omar, Fowsiya Abdi, Aydarus Ahmed, Susan Anim-Boadu, Marian Yusuf, Abdirahman Osman and Abdulkadir Farah with Operation Shutdown campaigner Elaine Donnellon (front)

THE united front shown by parents of Camden’s murdered youth is powerful and yet laced with despair.

After so much has been written and said about knife crime, with so little change, what more is left to say than their blunt call to “spare everyone”?

We hope the private and poignant meeting in Kentish Town this week will stiffen the sinews of Mayor Sadiq Khan, and shake him out of his waking reverie. It is time for action.

The grieving parents who met this week will no doubt be inexorably drawn back to happy memories of their sons’ and daughters’ younger years.

Those exuberances were on show in spades at the climate changes protests this week as children marched out of Gospel Oak, Carlton, Rhyl, Fleet and Primrose Hill on Friday.

It is uplifting to see so many smiling faces marching through the streets and enjoying themselves – as they should be – in the name of a fundamental cause.

The wider public are in danger of becoming de-sensitised to the misery and barbarity of knife crime. Worse yet, an image of a younger generation – void of feeling and empathy – is becoming fixed in the mainstream media mindset.

But our impression of young people today should not be of misdirected rage and frustration. It is about also hope.

We see in the climate strike story how primary school children, in formative years, are thinking about their futures. They are thinking about what they can do to help the planet. They are learning about taking responsibility for their actions, in a way that even the most thoughtful parents perhaps did not. They will find inspiration in their peer, the extraordinary Greta Thunberg.

For some children, species extinction or, more dramatically, the end of the world as we know it, will be unsettling to comprehend.

It will be for adults, too. The consequences of global warming are no longer theoretical, they are observable realities. And adults must think more about what they can do to halt the destruction of our world and also develop a more caring, benevolent society.

The government, and Camden, have declared a “climate emergency”. But do the target pledges and policy tweaks that have followed feel anything like a response to a crisis?

If we have a chance of survival, to really “spare everyone”, we need to think clearly about whether we can nurture green technology, or curb emissions in the current system.

Ending climate change requires the end of anarchic free market economies.

Share this story

Post a comment