A picture I posted recently on social media, which I snapped at the San Francisco climate march on September 20th, triggered a few people online. A small minority failed to see the humor in the tongue-in-cheek sign below, which if you look closely, is made from a repurposed greeting card. Several people called the woman holding the sign—who was lovely by the way—a hypocrite for using paper to make a sign that says “Use Less Paper.”
This sign—and the protests themselves—inspired all kinds of whataboutism, as in “You supposedly oppose putting more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and yet with every breath you take, you literally flush carbon dioxide out of your body and into the environment.” Okay, no one said that. At least, not yet. But you get the gist.
Unsolicited Advice for the Climate Strikers
What strikers should really do is eat less meat.
a) How do you know what the strikers eat? and b) Strikers can both march and eat less or no meat.
What strikers should really do is plant trees.
Strikers can both march and plant trees.
We young people have decided to change the face of humanity.🌏If you don’t ACT, We Will!.— Elizabeth Wanjiru Wathuti 🇰🇪 (@lizwathuti) September 20, 2019
Leading a climate strike and tree planting at Ruiru Primary @HotpointKenya @KCDF @GGI_Kenya @alekograph4 @350 @350Africa @GretaThunberg@NamugerwaLeah#ClimateStrike #ClimateStrikes #Kenya🇰🇪 pic.twitter.com/zXhkccMpWy
What strikers should really do is boycott the big polluters.
Again, marching in the streets and refusing to buy bottled water—or anything—from Nestlé, for example, are not mutually exclusive actions.
What strikers should really do is consume less.
How many times must I copy and paste this? Strikers can both march and consume less.
What strikers should really do is stop using paper for signs.
Most of the signs I saw looked like old cardboard salvaged from boxes that result from your online shopping addiction.
What strikers should really do is hold the government accountable.
Ummm… 500,000 took to the streets in Montréal to protest government inaction…
What strikers should really do is stop driving to these protests.
How could strikers possibly have driven to cordoned-off areas filled with tens of thousands of people? They took public transit.
What strikers should really do is return to school and let the experts handle this.
In forty years, no one has listened to the scientists. Hence, Greta and millions of children have resorted to taking to the streets rather than go to school.
If I were younger, I might care but I will die soon and so I don’t.
Sounds like you will be sorely missed.
Mitigating the climate crisis requires much more than doing just one thing, such as eating all the food we buy or eating more vegetables and legumes or using less paper or taking public transit. It requires all of us to try our best to do all of the things all of the time every single day—and sometimes failing miserably—while at the same time taking to the streets to pressure our leaders to wean our economies from fossil fuels. Now.