Climate activist Greta Thunberg has attracted a startling amount of hate for a 17-year-old, but she has some heavyweights in her corner, too.
In an email to HuffPost Canada, legendary Canadian children’s musician Raffi Cavoukian called Thunberg “the moral voice of our time.”
He hasn’t met the Swedish teen, but last fall Raffi released a protest song inspired by the youth climate strike movement that Thunberg helped bring to prominence. In “Young People Marching,” Raffi lauds the “millions and millions of young people marching / Marching for our planet / Marching for their lives.”
The climate activist is name-checked in the fourth verse: “Greta Thunberg in Sweden got everybody marching / Now millions are marching the whole world over.”
Raffi hopes Thunberg “hears it and shares it with the world.”
Raffi, who is now 71, says he’s encouraged by all of the young people who have taken the lead in the fight against climate change.
“Millions of youth are climate striking to urge adults to act to secure the future,” he said. “The climate movement will only grow and get louder, as it should.”
Raffi has entertained generations over his career, which has spanned four decades. Many of the children who listened to his hits like “Baby Beluga” and “Bananaphone” in the ’80s and ’90s now have kids of their own. Now he’s hoping “beluga grads,” as he calls his grown-up fans, will help combat global warming.
“I’ve enlisted in Climate WW3, as I call it, a nonviolent global war of survival,” he said. “We have 10 years to press into a wartime mobilization to drastically cut CO2 emissions and contain the climate threat.”
In 2018, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found that world governments had only 12 years to avert catastrophic global warming.
Teaching children the importance of environmental protection can start by just getting them to appreciate nature when they’re young, experts say. Especially for younger children, focus on small actions that can make a difference rather than on imminent destruction.
Watch: Climate change exposes children to lifelong harm, study finds. Story continues after video.
An intergenerational divide often complicates conversations about climate change. Millenials and members of Gen-Z are significantly more concerned about the lasting effects of climate change than their Boomer or Silent Generation parents or grandparents, according to research from Yale. And a recent American market research study found that “Generation Alpha” — kids born between 2010 and 2025, so largely the kids of millenials — will be very climate-focused. A whopping 95 per cent of Alpha kids surveyed said they felt strongly about protecting the planet.
This is good news for Raffi. He’s touched that parents are sharing his music with their kids, but he hopes more than anything that they’ll share their passion for climate action.
“Thrilled as I am with how my music endures in its fifth decade, what’s most important now is to urge the millions of beluga grads to join me, to enlist in Climate WW3,” he said.
“It’s all hands on deck, for beluga babies, koala babies and our young.”