Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

'Normal' is killing us.

Donald Trump is out of the White House. COVID-19 is fading, at least in wealthier nations. The world, they say, is returning to “normal.” That’s the narrative that the corporate media is selling. But there’s a problem: “normal” is destroying our planet, threatening our democracies, concentrating massive wealth in a tiny elite, and leaving billions of people without access to life-saving vaccines amid a deadly pandemic. Here at Common Dreams, we refuse to accept any of this as “normal.” Common Dreams just launched our Mid-Year Campaign to make sure we have the funding we need to keep the progressive, independent journalism of Common Dreams alive. Whatever you can afford—no amount is too large or too small—please donate today to support our nonprofit, people-powered journalism and help us meet our goal.

Please select a donation method:

Students in Melbourne take part in a school strike for climate on November 30, 2018.

Students in Melbourne take part in a school strike for climate on November 30, 2018. (Photo: julian meehan/flickr/cc)

16-Year-Old Greta Thunberg Cheers 'Beginning of Great Changes' as Climate Strike Goes Global

Because "present and future on this planet are at stake," say teen climate activists, "we won't be silent any longer"

Andrea Germanos, staff writer

The world may be edging toward "environmental breakdown"—but 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg sees signs for hope.

Pointing to global walkouts planned for March 15, Thunberg—whose "school strikes for climate" helped galvanized similar actions worldwide—said, "I think what we are seeing is the beginning of great changes and that is very hopeful."

"I think enough people have realized just how absurd the situation is," she told the Guardian. "We are in the middle of the biggest crisis in human history and basically nothing is being done to prevent it."

In a sign of that realization, thousands of students from dozens of communities across the United Kingdom skipped class on Friday to join the ranks taking part in the weekly climate actions.

In fact, it's "incredible" that the movement "has spread so far, so fast," she told "Good Morning Britain."

Explaining the start of her own interest in the issue, she told the hosts, "Once you fully understand the meaning of the climate crisis, you can't un-understand it; then you have to do something about it."

She acknowledged that such actions mean kids missing school time, but, she countered, "Why should we be studying for a future that soon may not exist anymore and when no one is doing anything to save that future?"

Because "this is like slightly breaking the law... then it will have a huge impact [because] people will see it and think that this is important," she said.

On Twitter, Thunberg also refuted British Prime Minister Theresa May's assertion that the children on school strikes are "wasting lesson time."

"That may well be the case," she wrote Friday. "But then again, political leaders have wasted 30 yrs of inaction. And that is slightly worse."

Stateside, some observers see hope for addressing the climate crisis in the recently introduced Green New Deal, and the U.S. actions set for next month are aimed at buoying that and other legislative tactics to reign in global warming.

In a call-to-action, the teen organizers behind the U.S. youth climate strikes write, "We are at a turning point in history. Our futures are at stake. We call for radical legislative action to combat climate change and its countless detrimental effects on the American people. We are striking for the Green New Deal, a fair and just transition to decarbonize the U.S. economy, and other legislative action that combats the effects of climate change."

"We stand in solidarity with Greta Thunberg and all youth strikers worldwide as we demand action on this issue," they wrote.

"We are running out of time, and we won't be silent any longer," they continue. "We, the youth of America, are striking because our present and future on this planet are at stake. And we are determined to do something about it."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

Support progressive journalism.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

US and Israel Vote 'No' as 184 Nations Condemn American Blockade of Cuba

"The U.N. vote... on Cuba was a chance for President Biden to show global leadership," said CodePink co-founder Medea Benjamin. "He failed miserably."

Brett Wilkins, staff writer ·


With Planet's Future at Stake, Biden Told to Be Bold With Pick for Top Energy Post

"It's time to treat climate change like the emergency it is, and stop approving new fossil fuel extraction and infrastructure, reads a letter signed by over 300 climate-focused groups.

Jessica Corbett, staff writer ·


SCOTUS Solidifies Students' Free Speech Protections, Upholding Right to Say 'F**k Cheer'

"The message from this ruling is clear—free speech is for everyone, and that includes public school students."

Brett Wilkins, staff writer ·


Right-Wing SCOTUS Majority Rules Union Organizing on Farms Violates Landowners' Rights

The Supreme Court "fails to balance a farmer's property rights with a farm worker's human rights," said United Farm Workers of America.

Kenny Stancil, staff writer ·


Lawmakers Tell Biden US Has 'Moral Obligation' to Ban Landmines

"If the United States takes these steps it will be welcomed around the world."

Andrea Germanos, staff writer ·