The Last Hope

“Adults keep saying we owe it to the young people, to give them hope. But I don’t want your hope. I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. I want you to act. I want you to act as you would in a crisis. I want you to act as if the house is on fire, because it is.”

These are words from Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swede who started a global movement demanding immediate action to tackle global warming.

Switch off the light when you leave the room. Take the bus. Eat less meat.
Individual actions are important, but small changes have a limited impact. Stark changes may sound more powerful, but in the end, they won’t be enough either. Besides, how can you ask people to alter drastically their way of life when those in power seem more intent in wasting millions in climate conferences than in actually doing anything effective?

Last Friday, thousands of young people walked out of school and gathered all around the planet for what might be the biggest global demonstration event ever. I will confess it, they gave me hope.

For a few months, I had been convinced we would go straight into the wall, at high speed. I mean, haven’t we proved we were unable to do anything significant to counter global warming, loss of biodiversity, pollution and other environmental issues? Or, rather than unable, unwilling?
Everywhere I look, politicians talk about commerce, security, immigration… these are important issues, but climate change? Nope, not a problem. In France, ecology has completely disappeared from the political scene. It’s terrifying.

When I heard about the “School Strike 4 Climate” movement, I wondered. Is this the beginning of something bigger, or just another short-lived movement? Do these kids really have the power to change the system? Also, isn’t it too late already?

These thoughts have haunted me. My impact on the planet is not negligible; I travel, and fly quite a lot in the process. But, if our planet is going to die, shouldn’t I just give up and live as if there were no tomorrow? Enjoy it while it lasts? If I stay at home and eat vegetables from the garden, that won’t prevent the great polluters of this world from continuing on. If we have no future, shouldn’t we enjoy our present, at least?

I never accepted that, of course, but I thought about it. I consider myself an optimist, but I saw few reasons to be optimistic for our planet. Until now?

I want to hope, I desperately do. At the demonstration, it felt like everything was possible. When local politicians said they had heard our demands, the crowd shouted back it was “NOT ENOUGH”. Will they hear us this time? Will they finally face reality?

Maybe it’s too little too late, but if we still have a chance, it’s this one. There won’t be any other.

I want to hope.

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If you want to learn more about School Strike 4 Climate / Fridays For Future (the names tell a lot already), I would invite you to check Greta Thunberg’s interview from the Guardian. Here is an equivalent in French. Then, if it resonates in you somehow, join these kids next Friday, no matter your age. They may lead, but we’ll need everyone if something is to happen, finally.

On a more personal note, I’ve realized posting images and simply telling you about my adventures, not matter how epic they may sound, was not satifying. I want to make something more meaningful out of my photography. I need to.

Climate change is only one of the threats our natural world faces these days. Loss of biodiversity is another one, and I think that’s the one I’m most receptive too. I photograph birds, after all! So you can expect more articles related to conservation in the future here, with plenty of pictures of course! I hope you’re as excited about it as I am 🙂

Gallery:

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