Greta Thunberg Tells World Leaders To Stop With Flowery Speeches And Start Doing

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Greta Thunberg is not a corporate leader nor is she a representative of any interest group. Yet the Swedish teenager has spurred millions of people to advocate for effective action to ward off a climate catastrophe by speaking from her heart. She has addressed the United Nations, and Parliament, and the world leaders who gather in Davos, Switzerland each year. As Davos 2021 gets underway, she has created a special message for them.

It goes something like this: Enough with the flowery phrases and potent promises. Drop the pretentiousness of your pledges to do something 30, 40, or 50 years from now. Get busy doing things now so future generations can enjoy a sustainable planet later.

Okay, that’s a paraphrased version of her message. If you have 5 minutes in your busy day, you can watch her entire speech for this year. You don’t even have to go search for it online. It’s presented below for you below. Just click and listen.

Thunberg is brutally candid. She compares the airy targets espoused by world leaders to “waking up in the middle of the night, seeing your house on fire, then deciding to wait 10, 20 or 30 years before you call the fire department while labeling those trying to wake people up alarmists.” Ouch. How sharper than a serpent’s tooth are the words of this young woman.

The proposals being presented and discussed today are very far from being enough. And the time for ‘small steps in the right direction’ is long gone. If we are to have at least a small chance of avoiding the worst consequences of the climate and ecological crisis, this needs to change. Because you still say one thing, and then do the complete opposite. You speak of saving nature while locking in policies of further destruction for decades to come.

You promise to not let future generations down, while creating new loopholes, failing to connect the dots, building your so called ‘pledges’ on the cheating tactics that got us into this mess in the first place. If the commitments of lowering all our emissions by 70, 68 or even 55 percent by 2030 actually meant they aim to reduce them by those figures then that would be a great start. But that is unfortunately not the case.

And since the level of public awareness continues to be so low our leaders can still get away with almost anything. No one is held accountable. It’s like a game. Whoever is best at packaging and selling their message wins.

As it is now, we can have as many summits and meetings as we want, but unless we treat the climate and ecological crisis like a crisis, no sufficient changes will be achieved. What we need — to begin with — is to implement annual binding carbon budgets based on the current best available science.

Tough words that are not likely to go down well with the peripatetic potentates basking in their own magnificence as they participate in high level deal making this week in Davos. What will it take to get these people to listen? “I’m not here to tell you what to do,” Thunberg says. “After all, safeguarding the future living conditions and preserving life on earth as we know it is voluntary. The choice is yours to make. But I can assure you this. You can’t negotiate with physics. And your children and grandchildren will hold you accountable for the choices that you make. How’s that for a deal?”

Greta Thunberg has said her piece.  The question now is, will anybody heed her words?

Special thanks to Dan Allard, someone who does listen when Greta Thunberg speaks. 


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Steve Hanley

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. He is proud to be "woke" and doesn't really give a damn why the glass broke. He believes passionately in what Socrates said 3000 years ago: "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new." You can follow him on Substack and LinkedIn but not on Fakebook or any social media platforms controlled by narcissistic yahoos.

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