Using privilege for the greater good: The new age of civil disobedience


Margaret Huang

Environment club, featuring one of their leaders, Allison Suen, and advisor, Dr. Lundberg, gather together for a informational meeting and discussion on September 19th, 2019.

Maya Johnson, Feature Editor

In recent years, the topic of climate change has been anything but quiet. Inspiring conversations amongst youth and elders, political parties, and people from all over the world, the health of the world’s environment is at the forefront of society’s troubles.

Throughout the past two months, American icon, Jane Fonda, has led weekly climate protests at the nation’s capital every Friday. While each week focuses on a different consequence of climate change, the drill remains similar.

Asking for help from various celebrities and young activists, Fonda is working hard to ensure that her mission is continued by future generations. “We cannot leave it to young people to fight this fight for the future by themselves,” said Fonda. Her protests have resulted in her arrest four times, citing her strong dedication to the cause.

Despite the numerous arrests, Fonda will continue to march through the streets of the capital practicing civil disobedience. She is aware that not all have the privilege or the ability to pay for this consequence, so she will use her blessings to pave the way.

No stranger to protest or defiance, Fonda has been a forerunner of political activism with her opposition to the Vietnam War and support for Native American rights in the ‘70s and continuous fight for gender and racial equality. Her great efforts to improve American society are noteworthy and motivating, which are highlighted in an HBO special, Jane Fonda in Five Acts. 

At age 81, Fonda’s steadfast deviation from the classic ‘boomer’ stereotypes of today are influential to not only those of her age, but especially to today’s youth.

Significant figures of the today’s climate change campaign include Greta Thunberg, who was also recently named 2019’s Time Person of the Year for her great efforts and valiant speeches calling for action. 

Although young people today have the tenacity to fight for their beliefs, their technique for advocating and creating meaningful change can be underdeveloped. With the help of fearless elders like Fonda, upcoming generations have guides to help them through the activism process and teach them how to advocate beneficially.

The need to create meaningful change hits close to home as well, with various climate protests and advocate groups dispersed throughout the Quad Cities. Also an impactful topic to Spartans, the Environmental Club works to educate teens and create change within the community.

Group leaders, Margaret Huang and Allison Suen, put in countless hours to ensure the integrity of their club is preserved. “We spend a lot of time watching videos and organizing group discussions to learn more about our part in reducing environmental harm,” said Huang. 

“It is important for us to be informed first before we call for action.”

However powerful words and protests may be, action is the catalyst to begin true change, as attested to by Huang. Fonda herself has pledged to sustainability by cutting down on shopping, while here at PV, the Environment Club does their part to cut down on unnecessary waste by selling reusable water bottles annually. Fonda, Huang and Suen prove that without active participation against a problem, words that call for activism go to waste. 

No matter the age, it is clear that the conversation of climate change is a hot topic for many.

To encourage the beneficial evolution of activism, older generations are working hard to create a culture of change and mindset of triumph to those who are younger, hoping for them to achieve even more success than the fighters before them.