It was a Thursday evening. I was scrolling through Instagram, seeing posts about detainment centres holding children in America and a magic appetite supressing tea that would make me lose five pounds every time I blinked.
I had just got home after a long day in school, I’m in the Leaving Cert programme which everyone knows is an absolute joke when it comes to measuring actual brain cells. Needless to say, I wasn’t exactly in a sunny and positive frame of mind when I saw a post that literally made my eyes fill with tears.Not with sadness or happiness, I am one of those cursed humans who cry when they’re angry. Count yourself lucky if you’re not one of us.
I was filled with such a rage, such indignation.
The post was from The New York Times’ Instagram. It was about Donald Trump (big surprise there) and how he said that Greta Thunberg “seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future”. My problem was not with his words but with the context. Greta had just given a fantastic speech about how governments were not doing enough to stop climate change. She slated Trump and she got him good, and what was his response? To mock her.
I am going to be honest with you here and tell you that I do not care enough about climate change. Sure, I have my reuseable bottle and I went to all of the marches. But I cannot write you an article that will inspire you to live a vegan and plastic free lifestyle.
Instead, I would like to give you a pat on the back. Chances are, if you’re a young person like me reading this, you have been told all of your life that it’s the end of the world. I was five years old when the recession hit, nine when the refugee crisis happened, the next year brought the homeless crisis, twelve when Donald Trump got elected and fourteen when the MeToo movement started.
All of my life, I have only heard about terrorist attacks, rapists walking free and starving polar bears. The world was never a peaceful place for me. We are inheriting a broken planet, ruled not by hate but by apathy. Whenever me and my classmates would ask what is being done to try and fix things, the adult would shrug and say that one person could not solve all of the world’s problems.
But I am so so proud to be part of Generation Z.
We are not snowflakes like those before us and we will not back down. We are fighters and screamers and ripped-jeaned-black-booters. We care and give a crap. Look at Greta Thumberg who sees beauty in our vast forests, rolling seas and towering earthy mountains when no one else seems to notice. Or Malala, who fought so fiercely so that she could no longer be ignorant.
We are generation of acceptance. Of app makers who want trans people to feel safe, a generation of snapchat story revolutions fighting against sexist dress codes. Hip hop music about mental health and kindness are our anthems and mantras. We are inheriting this weak, smoke filled, dream crushing machine. But we are breaking down walls and planting trees in their places.
We are hugging our enemies and we’re creating art that speaks to people of all backgrounds. So I propose a toast: to the kids, the young people, the ones who are being cheeky to their politicians, the ones who are writing poems and the ones who are cheating the system, to the diet culture crushers and to those who always notice when somebody is upset. We are full of hope and everybody knows that we are unstoppable.
Let them mock us if it makes them feel better. I think they’re scared of our anger and our fire. But it won’t stop us, nothing will.
By Libby x