One of the best things about our presence at Glastonbury has been the brilliant response we have had from children and their parents. Kids were excited to join in with our workshops and contribute their artwork to the sculpture garden. Lots of parents thanked us for providing an opportunity for their children to learn about global issues and were genuinely keen to further engage them about the issues in Bhopal.
As a society we often protect children from the harsher realities of life. This is a mistake, and it was proved at Glastonbury that children have an incredible ability to absorb and make sense of information in a way that adults often cannot. They see things in more simplistic terms and some of the best commentary I have heard about what continues to happen in Bhopal has come from young people whose judgement is not yet clouded by the complexities of capitalism, and the desire to justify our lifestyles at the expense of the poor.
Ollie Garstang (7) and Gemma Fry (12) popped into the Bhopal Medical Appeal marquee one afternoon and busily got to work stapling scraps of material to plastic bottles. Their questions and interest about water contamination and the people in Bhopal amazed me. Children are our future and if we want to live in a safer, cleaner and fairer world we have to engage young people from an early age and educate them about what they can do to encourage positive change. Below are their thoughts:
I think that the people are very greedy and selfish. The people should not risk other peoples lives to save them money. If it was in this country they would be shut down and just cos its in another country no one cares. It is stupid and pathetic. (Gemma)
I forgive the people but they are stupid and silly. When I grow up I am going to raise for charity. (Ollie)