Greta Thunberg just ripped off the bandaid of illusion that many have blinded themselves with in hopes that they can pretend all is well and will be well. The idea of climate change strikes fear into the heart of many and we react to fear in many different ways. Some, like Greta Thunberg, take it head-on and puts it right there in your face while demanding that you drop everything and solve it — or we die. Eventually, we are going to die. And people, especially, it seems, many grown conservative men, can’t handle the fact that a child is telling them that their worst fear is about to come true.
”People are suffering, people are dying, entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction and all you can talk about is money and fairytales of eternal economic growth.” Watch Greta Thunberg speak at the UN Monday morning. https://t.co/Akkxm9sXdr pic.twitter.com/ahHKlhbYaE
— WIRED (@WIRED) September 23, 2019
So they resort to mocking, bullying, and attacking her. Even our own president has joined in with what his supporters seem to believe is him being kind. I admit it’s a good thing the president didn’t call her any names, but when you say, “She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!” as a response to “People are suffering, people are dying, entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of mass extinction and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth,” then it’s clear that we have a world leader mocking a child.
The truth is that these responses show not only cowardice but fear to face the fact that they helped contribute to the problem. They are mad because they think, “How dare you, a child, blame me when I know so much more than you; when I am better than you?”
Let’s move on from Greta Thunberg and climate change for a moment so I can show you another example of this reaction to fear in action. I want to briefly talk about two things: LGBTQ and racism. Both those who identify as LGBTQ and those who are victims of racism have one thing in common with Greta Thunberg: They have been mercilessly attacked for being different, being “other” — and being proud of it. When it comes to people of color, America has not been kind.
good morning twitter ! here’s a white woman in west phoenix who said she was going to “shoot me” about six times and then told me to go back to where i came from after i told her she was threatening me ! nothing better than a good ol’ racist white woman in the morning pic.twitter.com/DotnrpdGE9
— Katelyn Martinez (@KatelynCienna) September 20, 2019
When it comes to these highly political topics, everyone on all sides gets emotionally charged because one side quickly hates the others for various reasons. Both sides think they are right — and their perceptions of truth are hard for the other side to digest. As someone who identifies as a Liberal, I think I am able to see the points of both sides and, personally, have no desire to get into a Twitter war with the other side, but will call out hate and racism for what it is.
It’s not what you think it is, though. Hate, racism, sexism, all stem from one major thing: Fear. Fear of losing your culture. Fear of losing your power. Fear of losing your identity because the “other” is more prevalent. In Greta’s case, these men attacking her know deep down in their hearts that she is right and are angry because she has the nerve to go to the United Nations and demand judgment and justice.
Fear of helping others such as refugees from the Bahamas isn’t because the powers that be are afraid they might be a terrorist. That’s just a politically correct excuse that hides their real fear — fear that these brown-skinned people will take over. Fear that they will lose their country (aka their identity) to these “foreigners,” people who, like us, are descendants from either slaves, the Europeans that came here, and/or the Natives who were already here.
This Fear Of Others Will Kills Us Faster Than Climate Change
Whether it’s a difference in religion, skin tone, someone’s accent, or who they love shouldn’t matter. What should matter is how their heart is. If someone has a good heart, then who they love, what they look like, or how they talk should not offend you. Many who take offense because a black guy looked at them, a woman was speaking in Spanish while shopping, or someone was wearing a hijab — people who take offense to these things — are reacting in hate but not for the other person. Their hate is aimed at themselves because they fear that if they become like this person — the object of their hatred — that they will be wrong, all will go wrong. They will be judged as “other” — as the black sheep.
This fear has been instilled in our race — the human race — since millennia. This fear is the real reason for the fall of many empires. This fear could lead to our own mass extinction because of how we have reacted and continue to react to it. People who speak of change are hated and crucified by their current generations, only to be listed in history as people who “they should have listened to.”
All religions teach love as a commandment. Whether you’re Christian, Muslim, or not even religious doesn’t matter — those are labels. Love, like hate, has been taught as well. If we can remember to love one another despite our differences, to have compassion and to listen first, then perhaps we can prevent major catastrophes.
Instead of mocking Greta Thunberg because she has Asperger’s and a message that seems to insult the generation before hers, listen to that message. Put aside your ego and own up to your part in creating the problem. Only then can you solve it. We all have contributed in some way to our climate issues simply by existing. We breathe out carbon dioxide. So let’s us use our common sense and help Greta create innovative solutions that will enable us to flourish and prosper instead of trying to prove our “right-ness.”
There is a song that I love by Matisyahu. He sings about peace and about how he hopes that one day his kids can play with yours. “Sometimes in my tears, I drown, but I never let it get me down, so when negativity surrounds, I know someday it will all turn around.” We should all embrace this message of hope and peace. Let’s stop trying to condemn others for being different — for being other — and embrace our otherness. If we don’t, we could all die by our own hands. If you are a leader, sometimes the hardest part of leading is sitting down and listening. If you can do this, then you will be able to lead.