Yesterday, we did a tiny pop-up for Fridaysforfuture at a busy intersection in Toronto. I don’t like talking to strangers so it was super awkward for me. It’s easier to join a large protest, but I reminded myself that Greta started alone.
Vash4change a young Ugandan climate striker makes the same point!
No formula needed. I just made signs with my siblings and convinced them to strike with me. Then the following strikes, I have been striking alone. The point is that you don’t have to be over ten people in order to strike. Just start and others will follow you @KataNylen https://t.co/rrmv7jIc3q
— Vash4Change (@vanessadantes1) January 18, 2019
Yesterday, it was just my wife, my daughter and I. And at first, we felt uncomfortable, banging a drum, making a disturbance and trying to hand out little flyers. If you’re in Toronto download one and hand a few out (https://drive.google.com/open?id=1-x6iRkvPmtg7ILe5u4D74tveEkHyhmJO).
But it got comfortable — and even became downright fun — within about ten minutes.
Haven Coleman is another young school striker who is striking alone. She recently shared a reflection about her situation on Twitter which hit me right in the feels!
A lady walked by, “You picked a terrible day to strike.” 😡 No one else looked at me, probably so they wouldn’t have to feel any emotions. Fighting breakdown takes lots of being in my emotions. Maybe I’m stronger than them, or maybe I care too much. @GretaThunberg #climatestrike pic.twitter.com/GxOCMpauD5
— Haven Coleman (@havenruthie) January 11, 2019
Haven is right. Most people are still pretending climate change isn’t real. Even people who think they understand it. As Greta says, “We all think we know and we all think everybody knows. But we don’t.” Because if you really understood it, you would be out in the street standing shoulder to shoulder with us — or in your MP’s office or a shareholders’ meeting or organizing a climate change book club.
Instead, most people ignored us. Many refused to make eye contact. But about 20 took flyers. A handful offered kind words. A man got off his bicycle to take a flyer. One woman walked back and thanked us after reading the flyer.
And one single person said they would come to the next Fridays for Future at Queen’s Park on February 1st.
It only took about half an hour and just that tiny fraction of success will help our movement grow exponentially.
Fridays for future at symbolic sites is excellent — and it is obviously working — but unless you are in the hundreds, you are easy to ignore. But imagine we were everywhere — in small groups — preventing people from looking away from the climate crisis! If you have a group of dozens, it’s worth considering spreading out to the busiest intersections in your city and handing out information. Maybe have Thursdays4seed-sowing and Fridays4future? Or a morning pop-up on the same day as a larger protest at lunch time? Let’s all try different things and get out of our comfort zones!