Kids confront climate crisis complicity and complacency
To the Editor,
Many of us are aware that a global school strike for climate action was initiated last summer by Greta Thunberg, age 16, of Sweden. In January of this year, here is part of what she had to say to the self-appointed “global elite” at the World Economic Forum held in Davos, Switzerland:
“At Davos, people like to talk about success, but financial success has come with a price tag, and on the climate we have failed. And unless we recognize the failures of our system, there will be unspoken suffering.”
Thunberg dismissed the usual admonishments that climate is complex. She has grown impatient when grown-ups explain to her that structural reform is hard, sensitive, intricate, takes time, and that nothing in life is black and white. “That is a lie,” she countered. “Either we prevent temperatures from rising above 1.5 degrees (Celsius), or we don’t. Either we avoid the chain reaction of unravelling ecosystems, or we don’t. That’s as black or white as it gets. Now we all have a choice: we can either create transformational action or continue with business as usual and fail.”
“I often hear adults say: ‘We need to give the next generation hope’,” she concluded. “But I don’t want your hope. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I do. Every day. And want you to act. I want you to behave like our house is on fire. Because it is.”
Let there be no doubt. Maintaining the status quo, based on the economic mythology of near infinite growth via blind exploitation of the biosphere, is not a viable option. The earth has made it all too clear how the extraction and burning of fossil fuels, primarily in the “developed” and “over-developed” nations, has affected her ability to maintain equilibrium or homeostasis.
Locally, student led rallies on Fridays are held in support of the growing global movement to raise awareness about the climate crisis, and to encourage meaningful and timely action.
The majority of global greenhouse gas emissions have been released while we have been adults. So, let us join with the younger generations and have the courage and conviction to demand and create a shift to a more sustainable way of co-inhabiting this planet.
Let’s do this while we have the chance!