South Africa: Adults Owe Teen Climate Activists the Earth - It's the Least We Can Do

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We are handing our youth a climate-unstable world that could to be way more ugly, brutish, and short than the one Hobbes thought our hunter-gatherer ancestors evolved in. We owe it to the next generation to give them everything they need to prepare for it, writes Leonie Joubert on Youth Day.

Last Friday's dinner party is still curdling at the back of my brain. On my left: an older man, a retiree, who is bubble-wrapped in wealth and groomed by years of being at the top of the pecking order. He was holding court with his usual flair, instructing the room that all this stuff about a climate crisis and environmental what-what is just a bunch of subjective nonsense.

To my right: an 11-year-old who hasn't quite found his voice in adult circles yet, but is so gripped by the urgency of our unravelling climate, that he recently wrote a series of books for his peers. He wanted to hand these out at school, but the principal thought he'd "better not".

The gulf between these two - their knowledge of the science, the willingness to confront what lies ahead, their sense of civic responsibility and the urgency of our need...

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