This morning when perusing my Google Reader, I was struck by an image of children covered in oil protesting at the G20 Economic Summit (the image is copyrighted, so it is not featured here. Click the link to see it). Treehugger featured it in their slideshow, “These Kids covered in fake oil (evidently a mix of vegetable oil and cocoa) were clearly protesting the BP Spill. Other protesters were trying to stop the Alberta Tar Sands.” I was relieved to learn these kids weren’t covered in petroleum, but the image got me thinking…how much should we involve children in climate protests?
How much do your children know about climate change? Gulf Oil Spill? G20 Economic Summit? The answer depends of course on the age of your child. My almost nine-year-old clearly understands the tragedy of the oil spill from images of the region, but the concept of the G20 is a little beyond her grasp (or mine for that matter).
I do believe children should be involved in protests. I do believe their presence creates more emotion and passion. I do believe children should be empowered to change the world they live in. What I worry about is their safety.
I don’t trust riot police; I don’t trust other protesters when it comes to the safety of my children. I don’t want my children to witness the chaos of rubber bullets flying and police brutality. Emotions and adrenaline are high.
It would be nice if we could offer separate family protests and marches in our cities. More families would participate feeling safe and united. The solidarity and concerns of families would offer the media a more accurate image of how we feel about the issues facing our planet than the chaos and inevitable violence of current protests. Children do have a place in our political voice; it just needs to be safe. It’s their future too!
Jessica Gottlieb says
It’s a good question, and it’s fair to ask. My baby pictures include more than a few marches on Washington. There is tear gas exploding in the background and my father is wearing a tee that says “Fuck War”.
I’m pretty sure it wasn’t the safest place to take your baby (and then your toddler), but sometimes we do stuff that isn’t super safe.