15-year-old Greta Thunberg of Sweden took the stage at the COP 24 climate conference in Katowice, Poland this week to castigate world leaders for their lack of concerted action to prevent an existential crisis as the world gets hotter. Much like the apocryphal tale of the small child who dared point out the king was wearing no clothes, Thumberg stripped away all the artifice and pretense that lies at the heart of the climate denial meme and challenged her elders to act rather than extemporize.
Her remarks may have been prompted in part by the disgraceful actions of the United States delegation, which had the effrontery to conduct a seminar about why burning more coal and fossil fuels is actually a smart thing to do. That tawdry stunt perfectly illustrated the monumental ignorance and self interest that underlies the Trump maladministration from the Oval Office — which might be better described as the Offal Office — on down to every member of the government installed since this alleged president took office.
Thunberg told her audience, “Our civilization is being sacrificed to the opportunity for a very small number of people to continue making enormous amounts of money.” It doesn’t get any clearer than that. It’s so obvious even a child can see it! “You are not mature enough to tell it like it is. Even that burden you leave to your children.” Ouch.
So who is this impudent upstart? Thunberg attracted international attention earlier this year when she elected to skip school and protest in front of the Swedish parliament for a month after her country experienced unprecedented heat waves and wildfires over the course of the summer. In her vigil, she demanded her government implement the promises it made at the Paris climate summit in 2015. Her example has led many other school children around the world to create their own protests on Fridays to demand their governments do the same.
“You only speak of green eternal economic growth because you are too scared of being unpopular. You only talk about moving forward with the same bad ideas that got us into this mess, even when the only sensible thing to do is pull the emergency brake. What I hope we achieve at this conference is that we realize that we are facing an existential threat. This is the biggest crisis humanity has ever faced. First we have to realize this and then as fast as possible do something to stop the emissions and try to save what we can save.”
Watch the video. Share it with your friends. Invite people to watch it with you — again and again. This is the message that has to be internalized by every living person. Time is short. We can’t wait for new elections, new technology, new attitudes. We have to act. Now. We are not parts of discrete clans with scores to settle. We are one people and we are destroying our home. If we can’t agree on that one simple concept, there truly is no hope for humanity.
Hat tip: Dan Allard