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Your Steps Matter ― What We Can Do on September 25th

Needless to say, we live our lives surrounded by thousands of issues. Some are tiny and others are huge, but regardless of the scale, each of them surely has sickeningly complex contexts which are tightly connected to each other like a grapevine. It seems impossible for us to locate the beginning of the vine we can see in front of us. Maybe it is actually impossible because the very beginning of the vine, the root, is deep under the ground no one can see. The more we learn, the more we feel that “this kind of thing is far beyond my comprehension.” However, it is wrong to let this sense of helplessness discourage us from approaching and confronting these issues. You don’t have to be perfect in your knowledge about what you want to raise an objection to. Of course, the basic knowledge and a positive attitude toward the unknown is required, but if you have a strong feeling that “anyway this is absurd and needs change,” it’s enough to take action. 


Climate change is one of the vital issues which no one can ignore as long as they live on this planet. It is the issue that affects every single person, and there is no exception. The earth is in urgent need of “climate justice," and we don’t have time to undo infinite grapevines step by step to put the fruits of knowledge into your brain. Rather, what we have to do now is to dig up the tree from its roots. In other words, just start raising your voice and taking visible action if you've already started to realize the crisis this planet is in. 


This Friday, September 25th, is the “Global Day of Climate Action(GDCA).” It is one of the projects planned by Fridays for Future (FFF), the worldwide organization which aims to urge policymakers to conduct concrete countermeasures for climate change. Spread by Greta Thunberg’s school strike, on this day people around the world can band together for our future and have a big impact on the government, companies and people by taking action. I am a member of FFF Japan and am engaged in the management of GDCA. So, today I want to share what you can do on September 25th. Even if you are a beginner in climate change activism, it’s not a big deal as long as you have a strong feeling that you want to save the planet. And also, I’m a beginner too!

 Take your shoes to a near by venue.

Until last year, demonstration marches had been held on GDCA in Japan. However, considering COVID-19, FFF Japan has decided to conduct a new action called “shoes action” instead of the march. The local FFF (e.g. FFF Hiroshima, FFF Osaka...) each decides on a venue, and people take their own shoes and placards to the nearest venue and place them there. The collected and placed shoes represent the demonstration march, to express that we will keep protesting even if we cannot demonstrate now. The venues are listed or will be listed on the FFF Japan website, so please check where the convenient venue for you is located and join them! In the list you will see the name of companies, schools, and also individuals. If their venues are open to everyone, they are also your options. Before you join, please don’t forget to read the website carefully. More details and cautions are provided there.   

Take photo of your shoes and post on SNS.

If you cannot go to the venue, join the action from wherever you like! All you have to do is take a photo of your shoes and placards and posting it on SNS with hashtags. You will be counted as a participant of this action, so this way of participating is also very important for the success of GDCA. If you click here, you will see some tags you should use and an example photo.


Sign our petition.

This time, collecting signatures is the biggest purpose of this action. The signature will be used to support the statement that FFF Japan has already submitted to the Japanese government in order to ask them for (1) achievement of 1.5 degree targets and prompt implementation of countermeasures, (2) fair process, and (3) respect for young people’s opinions. More than twenty thousand people have already signed, but it’s not enough to persuade Japanese government, so your signature is needed. Here is the form in Japanese and in English.

What I shared here today are only about the projects of Fridays for Future Japan against climate change, but there are more issues we have to face in this world, and more actions you can take if you look around. Even if your step seems so small, it surely has an important meaning because everything starts from the first tiny step. If you want to see some changes in this world, believe in the power of your steps and keep walking. The footprints your steps leave will be the signpost for someone else. On September 25th, the Earth will expect your courage to take a step. It is us and our future kids who have to pay for climate change. It is said that if we don't make some decisive changes now, in 2050 there will be no place we can live on anymore. We are the last generation with a chance to take a measure for this issue. Reminder: YOUR STEPS MATTER.

Maasa Yamamoto

ICU Japan '24

I'm currently studying at International Christian University, majoring philosophy and religion. I simply love watching, creating, feeling, and listening to something artistic, and being in nature. And my biggest dream is living in Italy someday!
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