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Parental Guidance Advised! (No, it's not that kind of explicit...)

As many of you, I've been thinking a lot these days about the state of the world -- my little, everyday world and the big world out there. This pandemic is awful and creates so much hardship for so many. Just going about our day is filled with new anxieties. And most of you who will read this probably have it a lot better than most others.

The world has changed. Is changing. We can all see it, taste it, smell it, feel it. Some of us are more in tune than others, who don't have time to stop and smell the toxic roses. Without a doubt, it's going to get worse -- the news, the death tolls, the hardships. And I'm not just talking about this pandemic, because the meltdown of our planet, our home, is -- according to scientific evidence and not hyperbolic sensationalism -- going to make the effects of COVID-19 seem like an enviable yesteryear.

But some things will get better that never stood a chance before. We are all finding new ways to connect with others, finally understanding in real terms how interconnected we all are, having more opportunities to spend time (albeit virtual) with the people and ideas that fill us up. If there's a blessing in any tragedy, it comes from the resolve it creates in us to make a different future faster than ever before.

Right now, there are enough movements, activists, and decent folk to make radical changes possible. The problem is that there's a class of people, held up by corporate and media interests, that have a stranglehold on the powerful decisions and institutions that could make change possible.

Beneath this class are a lot of people, not unlike many of our parents and grandparents (or even ourselves), who in their older age have forgotten their rebellious youth and have given into the myth that "slow and steady wins the race." They are abiding by, voting on, spreading, and acting out tepid slogans of common decency that are understandable but belie a hidden danger.

We have a deadline -- a very serious one. In 10 years, we can be living in a world increasingly shaped by integrated, just solutions to social and climactic meltdown or we can be at the point of no return, when even radical solutions won't save us any longer. Each place has its moment; every story has its turning point. For better or worse, that's now.

We can use the tragedy of this pandemic to finally break through hearts and minds that have long been frosted over. If we use this time, this space to hold deeply honest and convincing heart-to-hearts with the older ones in our lives who are forgetting that the next generation itself is at stake, then we might just be able to turn the tide and say, when all is said and done, "Thank God for Covid-19, because it brought us back from the brink of Climate-30." (Although nothing can justify the loss of life this pandemic is creating, and using the tragedy as fuel for change to prevent future loss can only ever be “in memory of” its victims.)

For this, we have to be brave enough to turn the hearts of mothers and fathers back to their children and grandchildren and convince them, at best, to take to the streets with us, but at least, not to oppose the movements, people, and policies that will make this radical change possible now. (Most of) our parents did the best they could with the toolkit they had, but we have to turn the tables and begin the opposite process of advising them.

The catastrophes to come are worse than PG-13, which is why parental guidance is required -- this time, us advising them. Because we can still guide them in the way they should go, to wrench power from the elite that have deluded them and turn us all into radical, hopeful, daring protagonists in a new planetary story. So please use this time to have those talks to convince the older (and not-so-old) populace not to turn populist. But rather to become hippies again. That's one thing many of them got right: that love and compassion (writ large in rights and law) can heal the world -- both my little, everyday world and the big world out there.


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