Climate activist Noga Levy-Rapoport challenges children’s media industry
“It is time for the media to begin treating this emergency with the severity it deserves… Where are you in this movement? What have you been doing to avert this crisis?”
Those were the words of climate activist Noga Levy-Rapoport, who made the opening ‘changemaker’ speech at the Children’s Media Conference in Sheffield last night (disclosure: I’m on its advisory board). She’s one of the organisers of the campaign that has seen young people across the UK go on ‘school strikes’ to express their views about the climate emergency.
CMC’s audience includes people from across the world of children’s media, including television, books and digital. Levy-Rapoport delivered a clear message to them: that they could and should be doing more, with the “fragile political tightrope” that they have to tread being no excuse.
“We have been demanding for months that children’s media push aside the strict political balance and guidelines you set yourselves,” she said, speaking on behalf of her fellow activists. “That generation wants the media to show them what’s really happening and what we can do… There is no greater action of children’s media than the… empowerment of those waiting to learn.”
She continued: “Tell the children of the world about what we’re doing and why! Show them a world that they have to understand using the language that they understand… stand with us as we demand action. Engage with us and millions of children around the world will engage with the world around them.”
Levy-Rapoport also made it clear that children will continue to use tools like social media to spread their activism, whether the traditional media get behind them or not.
“They should never have to ask permission or defer to others in order to act to make a change that they believe is right,” she said, of young activists. “Never has there been a time where it has been more imperative that children of the world realise their power… It’s a new kind of grassroots organisation. For the first time, young people and kids have access to a world of information and encouragement, and ideas.”
Levy-Rapoport finished off with a rousing call for children’s media to “prove that your words are not the false words of those in Parliament” before reminding them: “Your children are waiting. We’re waiting for you to catch up!”