When Yasodhara Ashram hosted its first youth climate action retreat last month, nine local activists including myself gathered together for an inspiring, grounding and empowering weekend of self-reflection, open discussion and peer bonding.
What struck me most about the whole weekend was the sense of collective support and connection we felt. Facing inaction on climate change can be isolating and anxiety-provoking, yet by the end of our retreat there was a deep sense of strength in our unity. We disbanded on Sunday afternoon feeling a new level of hope that we can make a difference, because we’re not alone.
Collective action of youth has been taking over the global stage for more than a year. Inspired by 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, young people around the world are stepping up and taking the future into their own hands. Kids are making waves with nothing more than a sprinkle of gumption, a willingness to collaborate and a spotty wifi connection. And the world is responding.
I see what is happening on this global scale reflected here at the ashram. As one of the youngest residents in our intergenerational community, I am often amazed at the support I receive here in pursuing my passions. I like to think that’s because the ashram has always known the importance of what young people have to offer. It would appear that the rest of the world is finally coming to recognize what the ashram has known for a long time: that the future lies in the hands of youth.
Which means it’s time to support them.
A good opportunity to do this is on Sept. 20 outside City Hall! Starting at 10:30 a.m., Fridays For Future: Nelson is hosting the largest general strike for the climate in the city’s history. Everyone is welcome and needed. As one of our young retreat participants sagely put it, “in coming together like this, I know we have the power to save our planet.”