Inspired to Act
Even if you aren't wearing a cap and gown this year, you can still use this time as a chance to start something. Find inspiration in the wisdom and advice given through commencement speeches. This year, a few notable speakers have offered more than wisdom and inspiration; they have offered a call to action.
Tim Cook called on the graduates at Tulane University in New Orleans to summon the courage not just to act but to act together, remarking that his generation has focused too much on debating climate change rather than working on solutions.
At Dickinson college in Pennsylvania, Pierce Brosnan received an honorary Doctorate of Environmental Advocacy and asked his audience to do something for the world by working together, adding a reminder that nothing comes from nothing.
In St. Louis, Michael Bloomberg spoke at Washington University about taking pains to bring truth to light by holding policy makers accountable.
Other commencement speakers, salutatorians and valedictorians have joined the youth movement “Class of 0000” and will use their time on the stage to demand climate action from Washington. They will recite a pledge vowing to vote for candidates, regardless of political party, with a plan to get us to zero emissions. Their mandate for zero emissions with zero excuses because there is zero time to waste will amplify the sense of urgency young people feel about their future in an uncertain world.
We may not have plans to attend a graduation ceremony this year and we may have passed this personal milestone a few+ years back, nevertheless we can use this moment to be inspired to act.
Oprah Winfrey, who spoke to the grads at Colorado College this year, said, “what you can do, here and now, is make a decision, because life is about decisions. And the decision is that you will use your life in service; you will be in service to life. You will speak up. You will show up. You will stand up. You will sit in. You will volunteer. You will vote. You will shout out. You will help. You will lend a hand.”