This will be an exceedingly simple post.
Swedish Greta Thunberg is a 15-year old climate justice activist with Asperger’s.
She has just delivered a speech in front of the United Nations plenary, and it is a moment so potent, so powerful, and so incredibly urgent, that it needs to be broadcast from every single possible screen and speaker right now. On repeat.
No more preamble. Watch this:
My name is Greta Thunberg. I am 15 years old, and I’m from Sweden. I speak on behalf of Climate Justice Now!
Many people say that Sweden is just a small country, and it doesn’t matter what we do. But I’ve learned that you are never too small to make a difference. And if a few children can get headlines all over the world just by not going to school, then imagine what we could all do together if we really wanted to.
But to do that, we have to speak clearly, no matter how uncomfortable that may be. 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. You are not mature enough to tell it like it is. Even that burden you leave to us children.
But I don’t care about being popular. I care about climate justice and the living planet. Our civilization is being sacrificed for the opportunity of a very small number of people to continue making enormous amounts of money. Our biosphere is being sacrificed so that rich people in countries like mine can live in luxury. It is the sufferings of the many which pay for the luxuries of the few.
The year 2078, I will celebrate my 75th birthday. If I have children, maybe they will spend that day with me. Maybe they will ask me about you. Maybe they will ask why you didn’t do anything while there still was time to act. You say you love your children above all else, and yet you are stealing their future in front of their very eyes.
Until you start focusing on what needs to be done, rather than what is politically possible, there is no hope. We cannot solve a crisis without treating it as a crisis. We need to keep the fossil fuels in the ground, and we need to focus on equity. And if solutions within the system are so impossible to find, then maybe we should change the system itself.
We have not come here to beg world leaders to care. You have ignored us in the past, and you will ignore us again. We have run out of excuses, and we are running out of time. We have come here to let you know that change is coming, whether you like it or not. The real power belongs to the people. Thank you.
Our species is facing an existential threat such that it has never seen before. Human-made climate change is here, it is only going to get worse, and we have nigh-on no time left to fix things. The planet will suffer, animal life will die off in unprecedented numbers, and our children will inherit a planet Earth ravaged by apocalyptic forces that they had no part in creating. It would be easy to blame some sort of ‘inherent evil’ that is present in humanity for this crisis, but that would be a mistake. The truth is far more prosaic. This crisis was made by mass-scale industrial capitalism. Our hunger for convenience and ability to turn a blind eye for too long may have had a part to play, but this crisis was made by business. It was made by the billionaires who craved ever more wealth and power at whatever cost. It was made by the energy companies who knew about the catastrophic effects of climate change decades ago but who suppressed the findings and who lobbied and bought governments to ensure that the well being of our children and grandchildren did not get in the way of their short term profits. It was made by men in suits who have names and companies that have addresses and they should all be held accountable. The fact that we have gotten to the stage where a 15-year old child has to climb up onto the podium in front of the leaders of the world, and to not even plead for a future, but to say that she and her generation will claim one, no matter what the guardians of the old order may think, is the most damming indictment of our systems that I can think of. There is no more time to waste. Get behind Greta Thunberg, or be complicit in extinction.
Header Image Source: YouTube