Fridays for Future — for Everyone

dan burgess
May 16 · 9 min read

Do you believe that we’re now living in a climate crisis?

Do you believe we’re facing an ecological crisis ?

Are you scared about it?

Are you wondering what you should do now that we’ve declared a climate emergency in the UK ?

Are you not sure you want to glue yourself to the street (yet) ?

I’m a yes to all of those, if you are yes to any of the above here’s an idea that you can get involved with.

Fridays for Future — for Everyone

First some quick context…

Fridays for Future is a movement dreamed up by Greta Thunberg and building all over the world as young people take to the streets on a friday, striking from school in protest at the continual lack of meaningful action from our political leaders on climate and ecological breakdown. This is seriously threatening all life on earth as well as the futures of our young generations.

If you haven’t joined a march so far, find one near you and take part, the UK marches are monthly and coordinated by UKSCN and you can find them globally here. As a parent I highly recommend it

Ok, back to this idea…

What if Fridays for Future was for everyone, not just the youth?

What I’m hearing in the last couple of months out and about is more and more people asking what they can do, and/or feeling powerless, blaming it all on fossil fuels and waiting for the government to act, but with little faith that meaningful action will come fast enough.

Of course we need urgent and rapid decarbonisation, a proper price on carbon, a shift to regenerative agriculture, rewilding of land and ecosystems an end to the insane subsidies to fossil fuel companies and much much more, all of which will require radical policy change and subsidies going into clean and regenerative energy, technologies and systems— this stuff is taking time to happen at a top down level.

What stops us from starting today? And specifically to start with Fridays.

What if we make Fridays a day of mass planetary action, an innovation day for the future of our civilisation, a day of action to reimagine and redesign. A day of active participation in our shared world.

A 20 % of your working week time rule of thumb idea — to save the future of human civilisation and millions of species from collapsing kind of thing. Interested?

So starting next Friday 24th May, we step up and take action, and then every Friday if possible, go again and again and again.

I’m not just talking about getting out on strike on the streets and campaigning politicians for policy changes, though that is critical work and essential and more people are needed.

But it’s not for everyone. And there are many other things that can be done if we can mobilise our collective talents, skills and networks — and some of these things will help accelerate the process of campaigning for political change and meaningful policy action alongside the campaigning, non violent direct action and civil disobedience.

A much bigger box of tricks is needed. Bigger teams with different playing positions and diverse roles and strategies.

Here’s what else Fridays for Future could look like for us…some first thoughts

1. If you’re a parent or grandparent, aunt or uncle

Get out and demonstrate with your children, stand with them , listen to their fears and hopes, sing, dance, cry, express yourself and your fear and sadness with this situation. Talk and listen to others in your community. Start connecting and sharing ideas.

2. If you’re in business, professional services or work for a company

Remember there’s ‘no business to be done on a dead planet’, and loads of us work for companies. If you’re a business owner/leader, you can make anything happen, if you’re an employee, rally your fellow workers and convince your leaders…

Here’s some starters for 10…

Invite people in who know deeply about the challenges, solutions and responses to this crisis to talk to you and your teams about all this — learn more about what it might mean for you — start healthy internal conversations, be open, listen to all voices, make it 100% acceptable to challenge business as usual, to talk openly about this stuff, become a climate curious organisation.

Challenge your teams to spend fridays figuring out how to evolve your business to a more regenerative, less harmful operation, much business today is still based on extracting resources, treating human resource poorly, creating waste and pollution as part of ‘business as usual’ — how are you going to evolve to something that is life giving? How could your business help accelerate the political shifts and policy changes urgently needed in a climate and ecological emergency?

Give permission to your teams to go out and support community projects or environmental projects around you on a friday — to collaborate and learn with those on the frontline of these challenges we are facing.

If you have specialised talent, like engineers, technologists, designers, scientists — grant permission to look at the bigger societal challenges we face in shifting our entire industrialised system to a cleaner, regenerative way of living and operating. There are so many people working on the solutions, but they need loads of help.

If you’re in media, communications, TV, advertising and culture you have a huge responsibility — culture sets the tone for change at political level. Challenge your teams to use their fridays to apply their super powers of persuasiveness to create things that help change the story in our culture.

This will help accelerate the political shift and the policies and action we desperately need to rapidly cut emissions and drawdown carbon and shift to regenerative operating systems, because culture and people will be demanding change .

Ideas, content, stories that help people realise fast that we’re living in a climate and ecological emergency, that break down the myth of industrial growth society as being the peak of human potential, and finally smash the delusion of infinite growth on a finite planet, or rampant consumerism as the core idea in our societies.

Or use your reach and technologies and media influencers to help more people understand what is really going with the natural world and the biosphere that supports us and and how to respond. That the world is a living thing, it has limits, a complex system of inter-relationships that create the conditions for all life, it’s not a dead resource for extraction and human exploitation.

Use these creative Jedi skills to help breakthrough the political and media stuckness and denial on all this to get the policy shifts needed, or offer your talent and collaborate with projects and orgs that are already trying to do this.

Look at what one young courageous student has done by herself, armed with a smart phone.

Surely we can step up our collective game here.

Culture has huge influence and right now we’re living in a story where culture meets nature head on — that is manifesting in climate and ecological breakdown.

If you’re in finance and investment, how about spending fridays figuring out how to get money to flow faster out of toxic polluting energy and industry investments and into cleaner, regenerative, renewable sectors. This is key.

If you’re in law, help make Ecocide a reality or support litigation processes for those destroying our planet

There are so many ways business and organisations can respond, these are just some thought starters.

3. If you’re in retail, hospitality…

If you’re in food, take meat off the menu on a friday, offer up vegetarian or vegan, provoke conversation, encourage people to buy differently, don’t sell disposable single use crap on a friday, promote something that encourages action on climate or connecting with community. Show films or talks that help people learn more.

4. If you’re in education

Flood your curriculum with climate learning, help your students learn into this, dedicate friday to ecological and community learning. Move the classroom outside.

5. Rewild something

Abundant healthy natural systems are the best climate change defenses, nature is bloody smart, we could learn a lot if we spent a bit more time in awe of it.

Start to rewild our places, it could be a patch of garden, an edgeland, a park, a stream, a pond, a beach, a coastline, a bit of land on an industrial estate. Give it some love, clean it up, plant trees, help species recover, encourage insects and soil, discover the wider intelligence of these places through the process.

6. Grow veg

Growing veg is possibly one of the most revolutionary things you can do today. And food is definately a huge part of the challenge with what’s coming down the line. On a window ledge, in gardens, rooftops or in communities and public greenhouses, get growing.

7. Talk to someone you don’t usually talk to

Try talking to folks who aren’t ‘like you’, have a cuppa with them, stop them in the street, ask them how they are doing? See what they make of the climate emergency? What would they like to know more about? How do they feel? Make Fridays a day of connection.

8. Go outside

Sit still for 10 minutes outside and listen to the non human world, notice nature, jump in a river, go for a walk, listen to the birds, hug a tree, put your hands in soil, walk barefoot on grass, run off road, look up at the stars. Start to fall back in love with the natural world on a friday.

9. Whatever you decide to do Make it Public: tell everyone you’re doing it, become accountable to Fridays for Future

This is really important. Signal the intentions, share the learnings.

Let’s make it normal that Fridays are a day for working for our planet and on behalf of all life that lives here.

A day of planetary innovation, regeneration and redesign, political campaigning, activism, community building.

Use your social channels, put up posters, send memos, set up your out of office:

e.g

Sorry I’m not at my desk today, I’m working with my colleagues on the future of our planet. Back monday. #FridaysforFuture #ClimateEmergency #ClimateBreakdown #EcologicalCollapse

Sorry I’m not around today, I’m working with the insects to try and bring them back from extinction. #FridaysforFuture #ClimateEmergency #ClimateBreakdown #EcologicalCollapse

Sorry I can’t respond to your request today, I’m working with my most important client, the planet. #FridaysforFuture #ClimateEmergency #ClimateBreakdown #EcologicalCollapse

Tell your customers, tell your suppliers, tell your friends, tell your neighbours.

Share what you get up to on your social feeds if you use them.

Lets’ make it normal.

Great things will happen

All kinds of amazing stuff that we cannot imagine right now will emerge, if we intentionally start to commit to action, redesigning and remaking the future. My hunch is that all the inevitable stuff about ‘how can we afford to take a day off and money blah’ will disappear quite fast..

Greta’s work is extraordinary and thousands of young people have laid the foundation for Fridays for Future.

Extinction Rebellion are doing amazing things to bring the crisis into public awareness and shift political action, their approach and what I’ve experienced personally is absolutely brilliant— beautiful creative activism from the heart with open, self organising approaches. Join in with these movements and their actions for sure.

But imagine more and more people pointing their energies, talents and gifts at this.

This is is the mega challenge of our time, climate and ecological breakdown trumps everything, ecology owns economy.

We’re talking about the future existence of human civilisation as we know it and the collapse of millions of species.

We need more ideas, more ways to participate, more flavours of change.

It’s time for more of us to step up and co-create the change we want to see in the world.

This is just a starters for 10, the point is, we just need to start doing.

We can’t wait until governments are ready, of course we need the big system change and we must continue to do what we can to make that happen through the current system we have, and more people are needed to bring their skills and energy into that space, but there are many other things that can help speed up that process, we can start now, we must be the co-creators of the future.

We don’t need to know all the answers to get started.

We know enough to start. So just start.

Next friday and every friday thereafter.

Fridays for Future — for Everyone can help more of us step into the change, to become active participants into shaping the future we are longing for, into co-creating a more beautiful world, for ourselves, our children, our whole communities, future generations and critically the wide diverse web of life and all other species and beings that we are entirely dependant on for our own survival and wellbeing.

The spell of industrial growth society, cast 400 years ago is starting to break.

We’re officially in a climate emergency.

Emergency means time for some urgency

Time for betterness.

Imagine looking back when it’s too late to limit the damage and saying ‘I didn’t do anything, despite all the warnings and the overwhelming scientific evidence .’

I’ve had a few conversations with folks in the last week who said they do not want to be looking into the eyes of their children or grandchildren in a few years trying to explain why they didn’t take action.

I think that’s a pretty good motivator.

Let’s do this.

If this is interesting to you, or you want to talk about any of it, or bring it into your work or community and want some help, or to collaborate and plot, do get in touch.

Peace and out

#FridaysforFuture

#ClimateEmergency

#ClimateBreakdown

#EcologicalCollapse

dan burgess

Written by

Change Strategist//Creative Catalyst/Activist//Co-Designer//Dad dreaming a new dream, @g00dfornothing, @wearewildlabs www.thespaceship.earth

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