Xiye Bastida: If you adults won't save the world, we will | TED

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2020-10-20・ 2182    883


In a deeply moving letter to her grandmother, Xiye Bastida reflects on what led her to become a leading voice for global climate activism -- from mobilizing school climate strikes to speaking at the United Nations Climate Summit alongside Greta Thunberg -- and traces her resolve, resilience and profound love of the earth to the values passed down to her. "Thank you for inviting me to love the world since the moment I was born," she says. Visit http://TED.com to get our entire library of TED Talks, transcripts, translations, personalized talk recommendations and more. The TED Talks channel features the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world's leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes (or less). Look for talks on Technology, Entertainment and Design -- plus science, business, global issues, the arts and more. You're welcome to link to or embed these videos, forward them to others and share these ideas with people you know. Follow TED on Twitter: http://twitter.com/TEDTalks Like TED on Facebook: http://facebook.com/TED Subscribe to our channel: http://youtube.com/TED TED's videos may be used for non-commercial purposes under a Creative Commons License, Attribution–Non Commercial–No Derivatives (or the CC BY – NC – ND 4.0 International) and in accordance with our TED Talks Usage Policy (https://www.ted.com/about/our-organization/our-policies-terms/ted-talks-usage-policy). For more information on using TED for commercial purposes (e.g. employee learning, in a film or online course), please submit a Media Request at https://media-requests.ted.com

Instruction

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00:13
Dear Abuelita,
00:15
I know I haven't been home for a while.
00:17
You are in our lovely home in Mexico,
00:19
and I'm here in the US,
00:22
fighting for our future.
00:23
You're probably watering the roses,
00:26
taking care of the peaches
00:28
and making sure your turtles are well-fed.
00:31
That's one of the things I miss the most about home --
00:34
spending time with the flowers
00:36
while you tell me stories about your childhood.
00:40
As you know, we have been living in New York City since 2015.
00:44
But life has completely changed over the past year.
00:48
At first, New York City was about museums
00:51
and parks
00:52
and school and friends.
00:54
Now it serves as a web
00:57
that connects me with all the other people
00:59
who are organizing to save the planet.
01:02
You know how it started for me?
01:04
It was Dad and his wisdom.
01:07
Everything you taught him, he went and taught the world.
01:11
All of his words about the responsibility that we have as humans
01:16
to live in balance with nature
01:18
were passed down to me.
01:20
I noticed the universal disconnect to our planet
01:24
and remembered what you once told me:
01:26
"Leave everything better than you found it."
01:30
I know you were talking about the dishes,
01:33
but of course, that applies to the planet as well.
01:36
I didn't know what to do at first.
01:39
The world is so big,
01:40
and it has so many bad habits.
01:42
I didn't know how a 15-year-old was supposed to change anything,
01:47
but I had to try.
01:49
To put this philosophy into practice,
01:51
I joined the environmental club at my high school.
01:53
However, I noticed that my classmates were talking about recycling
01:58
and watching movies about the ocean.
02:00
It was a view of environmentalism
02:03
that was so catered towards an ineffective way of climate activism,
02:07
one that blames the consumer for the climate crisis
02:11
and preaches that temperatures are going up
02:13
because we forgot to bring a reusable bag to the store.
02:17
You taught me that taking care of Mother Earth
02:20
is about every decision that we make as a collective.
02:25
I am happy to tell you, Abuelita,
02:27
that I changed everybody's mind in that club.
02:30
Instead of talking about recycling,
02:32
we started to write letters to our politicians
02:35
to ban soft plastic altogether.
02:38
And then, the unexpected happened:
02:41
we started striking from school.
02:45
I know you've probably seen it on the news,
02:47
and maybe it's not that special anymore.
02:50
But at the time, it was a huge deal, Abuelita.
02:53
Imagine kids not going to school, because we want people to save the world.
02:58
(Video) Crowd: Another world is possible! We are unstoppable!
03:00
Xiye Bastida: For the first global climate strike,
03:03
which was called on by Greta Thunberg,
03:05
I got 600 of my classmates to walk out with me.
03:10
Greta Thunberg is a teenager who first started striking for climate.
03:14
Her boldness inspired me,
03:16
and I was shocked by the realization
03:19
that youth could turn public opinion on social issues.
03:24
The movement exploded.
03:25
(Video) Crowd: Shut it down!
03:26
XB: And I became one of the main organizers
03:28
for New York, the US and the world.
03:31
(Video) XB: What do we want? Crowd: Climate justice!
03:33
XB: When do we want it? Crowd: Now!
03:35
XB: I started speaking up about climate justice and Indigenous rights
03:38
and intergenerational cooperation.
03:40
That was only the beginning, though.
03:43
The busiest week of my life
03:44
will forever be the week of September 20, 2019.
03:49
Me and my friends got 300,000 people to strike for climate in New York.
03:56
I wish you could have been there.
03:57
We walked through Wall Street, demanding climate justice.
04:00
(Video) Crowd: No more coal, no more oil, keep the carbon in the soil!
04:03
XB: That same month, I went to the United Nations Climate Summit.
04:07
I spoke on a panel with Al Gore.
04:09
I met Jay Inslee and Naomi Klein and Bill McKibben
04:13
and the president of the United Nations.
04:16
It was the most amazing week of my life,
04:19
because everyone I knew came together --
04:22
all my teachers, all my classmates ...
04:24
And even some of my favorite stores closed down to strike for climate.
04:30
If you had asked me why I did all of that,
04:33
my only answer would be,
04:35
"How could I not?"
04:37
It's been one year since it all started for me,
04:41
and it gets a little tiring at times.
04:43
But if there is one thing that you taught me, it's resilience.
04:47
I remember that you went to Mexico City every day for 30 years
04:52
to get money for the family.
04:54
And I know that Abuelito has been going out for 20 years
04:58
to protect sacred land from big companies that want to take it.
05:02
A year is nothing
05:03
compared to the struggles that our family has been through.
05:06
And if our struggles make the world a better place,
05:10
they will make us better people.
05:12
There have been some hardships, Abuelita.
05:15
Out there in the world,
05:16
people expect us kids to know everything,
05:19
or at least they want us to.
05:21
They ask questions and I give answers,
05:24
as if I really knew how the world works.
05:26
They want hope, and we give it.
05:30
I have organized, written, spoken and read about climate and policy
05:35
almost every day for the past year.
05:39
And I'm just a little worried
05:40
that I won't be able to do enough, Abuelita.
05:44
For me, being 18 years old and trying to save the world
05:48
means being a climate activist.
05:50
Before, maybe it meant studying to be a doctor
05:53
or a politician or a researcher.
05:55
But I can't wait to grow up and become one of those things.
05:59
The planet is suffering,
06:01
and we don't have the luxury of time anymore.
06:05
Saving the world as a teenager means being good with words,
06:09
understanding the science behind the climate crisis,
06:12
bringing a unique perspective into the issue to stand out
06:15
and forgetting about almost everything else.
06:19
But sometimes, I want to care about other things again.
06:22
I want to be able to sing and dance and do gymnastics.
06:26
I truly feel that if all of us took care of the Earth
06:30
as a practice,
06:31
as a culture,
06:33
none of us would have to be full-time climate activists.
06:37
When businesses turn sustainable,
06:39
when the power grid runs on renewable energy,
06:42
when the school curriculum teaches us
06:45
that taking care of the Earth is part of our humanity,
06:50
maybe I can do gymnastics once again.
06:52
Don't you think so, Abuelita?
06:54
We can do this.
06:56
All I'm trying to do with my work
06:58
is give that optimistic mindset to other people.
07:01
But it's been a little hard.
07:03
There is greed,
07:05
there's pride,
07:06
there's money,
07:07
and there's materialism.
07:09
People make it so easy for me to talk to them,
07:12
but they make it so hard for me to teach them.
07:16
I want them to have the confidence to always do their best.
07:20
I want them to have the heart and the courage
07:22
to love the world,
07:24
just like you taught me.
07:26
I wrote this letter to thank you.
07:28
Thank you for inviting me to love the world
07:31
since the moment I was born.
07:33
Thank you for laughing at everything.
07:35
Thank you for teaching me
07:37
that hope and optimism are the most powerful tools we have
07:41
to tackle any problem.
07:43
I do this work because you showed me
07:46
that resilience, love and knowledge
07:48
are enough to make a difference.
07:51
I want to go back to Mexico and visit you.
07:53
I want to show you the pictures of the things that I have done.
07:57
I want to show you the climate legislation
07:59
that we've been able to pass.
08:01
I want to smell the flowers
08:02
and fight for climate justice alongside you.
08:06
Te quiero mucho.
08:07
I love you.
08:08
Xiye.
08:10
[Te quiero mucho. Xiye.]
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