Twenty-three kids and a grandma show the way

As a 60 year-old man, I have grown weary of politicians acquiescing to industry funders who want them to permit industry to conduct environmental degradation with impunity.  So, when I see younger folks (or maybe an older one or two) making a difference for the environment, it gives me some hope. They see a future that must change.

Emily Stevenson is a 21 year-old UK woman who has been policing the shores of her country since she was a child gathering up washed up plastic items. Among her many collected items, a frequent item is used plastic chip bags, many made by Walker’s. She advocated successfully to get Walker’s to recycle these bags and look to more bio-degradable materials. One of her ideas to garner notoriety was to make a graduation dress out of Walker’s chip bags. She got Walker’s to partner with a company who recycles items (that previously went unrecycled) into reusable plastic pellets.

Maybe, she was influenced by a 70 year-old British grandmother who has combed 52 beaches in the UK for trash. Pat Smith may have a simple name and have a simple approach, but she is a dedicated exemplar of what we must do to keep our environment clean. Her persistence is refreshing.

Sixteen year-old Greta Thunberg has gotten notoriety for her climate change activism. The Swedish teen parked herself outside of the Stockholm Parliament building advocating more action on climate change. She spawned other teens to do the same around the world. Recently, she spoke eloquently to the UK Parliament. Were they listening? Let’s hope so, but the fact she was there speaks volumes.

Let me close with the twenty-one American kids who have a lawsuit that continues to move forward over all obstacles thrown their way by government and industry. They are suing the US Federal government for denying them due process by obfuscating the impact of climate change for years along with the fossil fuel industry. As reported on “60 Minutes” earlier this year, their case is pretty compelling. Why? It uses the government’s own data and reports against them. It should be noted a separate case against Exxon Mobil by three state AGs uses Exxon’s own data and reports against them. Their case is Exxon misled investors of the impact of climate change on its financials (note a similar case has been brought by Exxon shareholders).

Twenty-three kids and a grandmother are making a difference. We need to listen to what they are saying. As Stevenson noted companies need to pay attention or we simply won’t buy their products. The smarter companies are listening and acting.

10 thoughts on “Twenty-three kids and a grandma show the way

  1. Excellent post, Keith! I love the story of Emily Stevenson, and I had not heard that one before! What initiative these people all have. Now, if only governments in the Western world would listen and act!

    • Thanks Jill. Most ideas are grass roots, but now with extremists driving pure policy positions, it is harder to deviate from such. I see environmentally disastrous policy, while the extremists are told tree huggers can be ignored.

      • It seems that there are more and more environment activists coming to light these days, many of them quite young people who are beginning to wonder if they will even have air to breathe by the time they are our age. I’ve got to do some reading about the group, Extinction Rebellion, that is making headlines in the UK, and I hear they have plans for the U.S. also.

      • Jill, I don’t know enough about them. My wife just read Dutch transit trains are powered entirely by wind energy. That is cool. I need to read up on that as well. Keith

  2. I believe the real take-away is the economic incentive to boycott errant corporations, as you suggest. Short of full on engagement as your examples demonstrate, where we spend our dollars sends a huge message to those who pay attention to the bottom line more than the law.

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