Open Letter From College Professors Urges Educators Worldwide to Cancel Class, Join Global Climate Strike

Posted by on September 2, 2019 in Activism, Conscious Living with 0 Comments

“Image Source: Flickr/Socialist Appeal

By Jessica Corbett | Common Dreams

Highlighting an open letter now co-signed by 175 teachers that urges educators around the world to cancel classes and join the global climate strike scheduled for Sept. 20, two of the original signatories published an op-ed in The Guardian Friday explaining why striking “in the name of climate justice is a resounding endorsement of learning.”

“We educators need to help strengthen the climate movement, and the start of this school year is an important moment.”
—Jonathan Isham and Lee Smithey, U.S. professors

In the op-ed, Jonathan Isham of Middlebury College and Lee Smithey of Swarthmore College acknowledge the lessons they have learned about the human-caused climate emergency from their own students, youth leaders like Swedish teen climate activist Greta Thunberg, and the millions of people who have participated in Fridays for Future demonstrations across the globe.

“No educator is able to join Greta Thunberg as she continues her bold Atlantic crossing, but all of us can follow her lead,” they write, referencing the 16-year-old's recent trip to the United States via an emissions-free vessel. “We risk losing credibility with an entire generation of students if we cannot take action in support of the defining cause of their generation.”

The professors note that “some educators—and their bosses—might object to striking,” and outline a few reasons why that may be the case. However, they argue, “to strike in the name of climate justice is a resounding endorsement of learning: it turns out the world's youth have been listening to their teachers all along. They understand the science of climate disruption; they take in the lessons of history; they grapple with the complexity of market forces and the true costs of polluting. In their humanities and social science courses, they hear the voices of those at the margins and then honor their dignity and humanity through the arts.”

Pointing to record-smashing heatrapidly melting glaciers, and the legacies of colonialism and global inequality that harm people of color and other marginalized communities worldwide, they write that “it's also undeniable that our students—all of us—have much more to learn about climate disruption and injustice.”

“That's why, above all, we educators need to help strengthen the climate movement, and the start of this school year is an important moment,” Isham and Smithey continue. “The eyes of the world are on young people, who are demonstrating the kind of vision and determination that has not yet taken hold in halls of power the world over.”

Bill McKibben, co-founder and a vocal supporter of the global strike planned for next month, shared the op-ed on Twitter Friday—writing that it is “so deeply good to see teachers mobilizing to join their students in the Sept. 20 climate strikes!”

Along with their op-ed, Isham and Smithey joined seven other professors in issuing an open letter that declares, “don't teach, strike!” The letter calls on educators to cancel classes and contribute to local actions on Sept. 20 because “unsustainable development, powered by the fossil-fuel economy, is disrupting our global climate.”

“Let us use the power of collective action to help raise the political will necessary to tackle humanity's greatest challenge; to learn from and inspire one another, and to support our students and all people as they use their learning to create a sustainable future for all,” the letter reads. “Above all, let us find ways to focus our collective determination on the global threat that defines this time.”

As of Friday morning, an additional 175 educators who teach at various institutions, from primary schools to prestigious universities, had signed on to the open letter.

Our work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. Feel free to republish and share widely.

Read more great articles at Common Dreams.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,


If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Subscribe via RSS Feed Connect on YouTube

New Title

NOTE: Email is optional. Do NOT enter it if you do NOT want it displayed.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

FAIR USE NOTICE. Many of the articles on this site contain copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making this material available in an effort to advance the understanding of environmental issues, human rights, economic and political democracy, and issues of social justice. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of the copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law which contains a list of the various purposes for which the reproduction of a particular work may be considered fair, such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. If you wish to use such copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use' must obtain permission from the copyright owner. And, if you are a copyright owner who wishes to have your content removed, let us know via the "Contact Us" link at the top of the site, and we will promptly remove it.

The information on this site is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional advice of any kind. Conscious Life News assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of this material. Your use of this website indicates your agreement to these terms.

Paid advertising on Conscious Life News may not represent the views and opinions of this website and its contributors. No endorsement of products and services advertised is either expressed or implied.
Send this to a friend