It was a Saturday about 11.45 am, when I decided to walk down the road to the supermarket to buy some groceries. I had been putting this off for a few days now and so I decided to brave the heat and finish the task. It was hot, about 32 degrees C according to my iPhone.
As I was walking down the road, I could hear a group of kids repeating something in unison. There is a school there, but it was not so close that I could hear children from the classrooms. And I was wondering why on earth is the school working on a Saturday, when a line of kids emerged from the street.
They were walking in columns of 4 and they looked like 8 to 10 year olds. They were accompanied by teachers and chorusing “save earth, go green”. Some of them were holding placards with drawings and messages like “save the earth for us”, “think green” and so on.
When they spotted some passersby like me, they shouted with more gusto. The teachers looked bored and hot and some of the kids in the center of the column were chatting instead of sloganeering!
Watching them walk in the heat, mouthing these words got me thinking about the objective of it all. Why do 8 year olds have to walk the roads in the middle of a hot, Saturday afternoon, shouting slogans? Do they even know what it means to ‘go green’? Why do we continue to indulge is so much symbolism? I was tempted to chat with some of the kids, but they looked so tired that I did not have the to prolong their agony and that of the teachers. Besides, I was thinking about how ironic it is, that young kids are taught to protests and shout slogans, albeit symbolically and when these kids grow up and join a protest as adults, they would be dispersed by the police or bundled away and termed as trouble makers!
I finished shopping and was at the billing counter when a lot of these kids walked into the shop with their parents. Some of them were buying soft drinks, chips, cheese balls more plastic to throw away, more carbon miles. Have they learnt anything from the walk at all?