The generational question
One important part of a woodman’s job is planting new trees. Now, you could probably abandon me in the woods and chances are very good, I would die and be eaten by wild pigs. So just to be totally candid: I am not an outdoor-person, absolutely not. However, even I understand some basic things about nature. That you should not eat funny looking mushrooms, for example, and that trees need a lot of time to grow. An entire lifetime, as a matter of fact.
Oak and maple trees are not a thrilling subject for a majority of the population — me included. So why talk about tree-planting woodmen at all? Because of the time a tree needs to grow, unlike a farmer who harvests what he sowed, a woodman never harvests the trees he plants. And here it gets interesting. One generation of woodmen has to rely on the previous generations, just as future generations will have to rely on the present one.
This is a very straight-forward principle that is apparently not very well-understood by a lot of politicians. While temperatures in February get to an all-time-high, animals are reportedly getting extinct because of global warming and regions all over the world are affected by natural catastrophes, the only large group of people protesting failing environmental policies are high school children.
I wonder how many politicians currently wake up in terror every night, cold sweat running down their foreheads, and screaming in the dark, because they dreamt of Greta Thunberg. How desperate does one adult has to get in order to publicly attack a 16-year old autistic climate activist from Sweden for calling bullshit on an international failing to meet climate agreements?
Everyone criticising children for staying out of school and protesting instead, should ask him- or herself: what have I harvested, without intending to sow? What am I leaving? Should anyone have a problem remembering, I am glad to provide a reminder: you are leaving us with global warming, a refugee-crisis, run-down health care systems, underfunded schools, destabilised countries and gender inequality. To name a few.
I dare people in power positions to demonise representatives of a young generation who have had enough. Those protesting children are not the ones that are out of touch with what matters. They are the ones who will have to deal with the problems you have left. And be certain that they will protest you and out-social-media you and, in the near future, will vote you out of office.
Every two weeks, Antonia will add the songs she writes about to the Spotify playlist below. This way, she creates a soundtrack to her time in Nijmegen. Click left and right for more songs.