Good People Doing Good Things — Greta Thunberg

After the Parkland school shooting last February, we saw many of our young people step up to the plate and become … well, the adults in the room, quite honestly.  They declared they had enough of adults being so stupidly in love with their guns that they were willing to sacrifice the very lives of these young people, and in nearly the blink of an eye, these young people became activists for meaningful gun regulations.

On Monday night, our dear friend Colette sent me an email with a suggestion that I look into another young activist fighting for a cause that we should all be fighting for.  Her name is Greta Thunberg, she is 15-years-old and lives in Sweden.  Greta is, as the Parkland kids were, being the adult in the room.  Her cause?  Climate change.

“Since our leaders are behaving like children, we will have to take the responsibility they should have taken long ago.”

It takes a lot of courage for a teenage girl to make such a statement, and she is spot on!Greta-2Greta is the daughter of Svante Thunberg, an actor, and Malena Ernman, a well-known opera singer, both people of conscience, as you will see.  Greta developed her special interest in climate change when she was nine years old and in the third grade.  As she tells it …

“They were always talking about how we should turn off lights, save water, not throw out food. I asked why and they explained about climate change. And I thought this was very strange. If humans could really change the climate, everyone would be talking about it and people wouldn’t be talking about anything else. But this wasn’t happening.”

Nine years old, and she had better sense than many world leaders today.  She began researching climate change and has stayed on the topic for six years. She has stopped eating meat and buying anything that is not absolutely necessary. In 2015, she stopped flying on airplanes, and a year later, her mother followed suit, giving up an international performing career. The family has installed solar batteries and has started growing their own vegetables on an allotment outside the city.Greta ThunbergAll of that would be enough, in my book, to dub her a “good person”, but it is barely even the tip of the iceberg.  Fast forward to mid-August when Greta Thunberg went on strike.  That’s right … she went on strike, refusing to attend school until Sweden’s Parliamentary election on September 9th.  Every day, Greta sat quietly on the cobblestones outside parliament in central Stockholm, handing out leaflets that declare: “I am doing this because you adults are shitting on my future.”

When people tell her she should be at school, she points to the textbooks in her satchel …

“I have my books here. But also, I am thinking: what am I missing? What am I going to learn in school? Facts don’t matter anymore, politicians aren’t listening to the scientists, so why should I learn?”Greta-3As word of Greta’s protest spread, so did the protest itself.  At last count, more than 20,000 students around the world have now joined her. The school strikes have spread to at least 270 towns and cities in countries across the world, including Australia, the United Kingdom, Belgium, the US and Japan. Greta is amazed by the rapid spread of school strikes for climate around the world: “It proves you are never too small to make a difference.”

Greta has since returned to school four days a week, but on Fridays she pursues that which is closest to her heart these days, her activism, her attempt to wake us all up, to help us save ourselves.  Every Friday, she and others sit outside Parliament to raise awareness amongst legislators and passersby.  I may have forgotten to mention that Greta is autistic and has both ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and Asperger’s Syndrome, all of which makes it very difficult for her to speak to other people, yet look at what she has done in spite of her obstacles!

This Monday was the opening of COP24, the 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change being held for twelve days in Katowice, Poland.  Greta Thunberg held a press conference.  The sound quality is poor on the video, and I tried to find a better one, but no luck, so instead I am providing a transcript of her speech.

Greta-COP24For 25 years countless of people have stood in front of the United Nations climate conferences, asking our nations’ leaders to stop the emissions. But, clearly this has not worked since the emissions just continue to rise.

So, I will not ask them anything.

Instead I will ask the media to start treating the crisis as a crisis.

Instead I will ask the people around the world to realize that our political leaders have failed us.

Because we are facing an existential threat and there is no time to continue down this road of madness.

Rich countries like Sweden need to start reducing emissions by at least 15% every year to reach the 2 degree warming target. You would think the media and everyone of our leaders would be talking about nothing else – but no one ever even mentions it.

Nor does hardly anyone ever talk about that we are in the midst of the sixth mass extinction, with up to 200 species going extinct every single day.

Furthermore does no one ever speak about the aspect of equity clearly stated everywhere in the Paris agreement, which is absolutely necessary to make it work on a global scale. That means that rich countries like mine need to get down to zero emissions, within 6–12 years with today’s emission speed, so that people in poorer countries can heighten their standard of living by building some of the infrastructure that we have already built. Such as hospitals, electricity, and clean drinking water.

Because how can we expect countries like India, Colombia or Nigeria to care about the climate crisis if we, who already have everything, don’t care even a second about our actual commitments to the Paris agreement?

So when school started in August this year I sat myself down on the ground outside the Swedish parliament. I school striked for the climate.

Some people say that I should be in school instead. Some people say that I should study to become a climate scientist so that I can “solve the climate crisis”. But the climate crisis has already been solved. We already have all the facts and solutions.

And why should I be studying for a future that soon may be no more, when no one is doing anything to save that future? And what is the point of learning facts when the most important facts clearly mean nothing to our society?

Today we use 100 million barrels of oil every single day. There are no politics to change that. There are no rules to keep that oil in the ground.

So, we can’t save the world by playing by the rules. Because the rules have to be changed.

So, we have not come here to beg the world leaders to care for our future. They have ignored us in the past and they will ignore us again.

We have come here to let them know that change is coming whether they like it or not. The people will rise to the challenge. And since our leaders are behaving like children, we will have to take the responsibility they should have taken long ago.

This young lady has courage beyond what I could have even begun to imagine when I was her age — or even now, for that matter!  She is an inspiration to so many others who have joined her in the good fight.  Every Wednesday I write this post about ‘Good People Doing Good Things’ … Greta Thunberg is by every measure a good person, and she is doing good things, not just for a few people, but for every living, breathing organism on this planet.  She is doing what our leaders haven’t the courage to do.  She is doing what none of us have the courage to do.  She is trying to save our lives.  I hope that the people with the money and more importantly, the power to do something listen to Greta and her words of wisdom, for all our lives depend on it.  If future generations stand a chance, it will be because of young people of conscience like Greta Thunberg.  Thank you, Greta.

Many thanks to Colette for this suggestion, and also for a number of emails containing links to information and video!  There is much more I could write about Greta Thunberg, but in the interest of time and space, I have included a few links below, for those who would like to know more.

Greta Thunberg: “Sweden is not a Role Model”

Greta Thunberg speaks in Katowice: ”Our leaders behave like children”

Greta on Twitter

37 thoughts on “Good People Doing Good Things — Greta Thunberg

  1. Dear Jill,

    I am so in love with Greta. I hope that many young peoples and even some of us oldies but goodies will follow her lead. This activism for a crucially important cause is the perfect outlet for her.

    Hugs, Gronda

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Greta is truly an inspiration. She is absolutely right. We continue to wait for our leaders to solve the problems of climate change instead of instituting the necessary changes at the grassroots level. Waste nothing. Be frugal in our spending and spend our own money to reduce our carbon footprint. It’s not rocket science – just challenging. Thanks, Jill!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think this intro and Press Conference with Greta (much cleaned up audio) is worth watching. Scott Stuart, from ‘Scientists Warning’ described Donald Trump as one of the most despicable people on the planet.

    Greta, who has Asperger’s struggles a little bit to find the correct English words to say, but her words carry so much weight anyway. She is an inspiration to people everywhere to not give up hope, but to demonstrate that they want their governments to act now to reduce climate emissions. Do something. For 25 years we have talked about it and done nothing.

    Greta mentions right at the end of this press conference, in answer to a press question about Geoengineering, that it would be far easier to clean up emissions and reduce warming than to do something scary like Geoengineering (which she describes as like trying to take an unproven magic pill to stop you dying if you have a health problem).

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Greta Thunberg is an inspiration and signifies that there is reason to hope that her generation will be better stewards of the planet than we were. “Nothing we do can change the past, but everything we do changes the future.” – Ashleigh Brilliant. Thank-you for introducing Greta!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I haven’t heard the school strike getting to Canada, nor have I heard ANY media outlet take up Greta’s challenge. What I do hear every day is getting Canadian oil to markets. Right now the US buys 90% of the oil we take out of the ground, and are buying it for much less than they pay Middle East producers. Canadians everywhere are up in arms because we are not building the pipelines our economy needs to sell that oil. Meanwhile, not selling that oil is the best thing that can happen to climate change, and Canada will have to adjust its economy to a clean power based industry. That will not happen soon, when even Alberta’s socialist government is pushing hard for selling our oil. They were supposed to be the protectors of the environment, but money talks louder than continued existence. Our next generations are in big trouble, and we cannot take our minds out of our wallets. The best thing the young people of today can do is line us older folks into firing lines and shoot us. Then, when we are all dead, they can be free to do the things they have to do to survive.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are right … money talks louder, it would seem, than most anything, even the future of our civilization. Or, can it really be called ‘civilization’ any more? Coal and oil need to become a thing of the past and they need to do so yesterday. Most of the world, except the U.S., are at least working toward a solution, but altogether too slowly. And the U.S., or at least Trump, seems determined to undermine those efforts. There are no easy solutions, and that is what everyone is seeking … a way to save the planet without inconveniencing anybody, especially the wealthy people (although why, I cannot say, since they don’t pay their fair share of taxes and contribute almost nothing to the world as a whole).

      Like

  6. Jill, great post about a forward thinking person. Truth be told, when the adults are paid to look the other way, it takes those who have not been bought to speak to the needed truths. The children are acting more like the adults on climate change and environmentsl issues, gun governance, and civil rights. Two more areas where their focus is needed in the US – US debt and treating our allies poorly and in a transactional way. The man in the White House is not dealing in good faith and stewardship on either issue. Keith

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, they are more adults than many of the world leaders, and I’m pleased to see so many young people taking a stand on these issues. The two you added are also good, and makes me wonder, though, if perhaps we should just elect sensible teens to public office? But wait .. maybe not … there’s that hormonal thing that will kick in sooner or later and make a mess of them for a time. Scratch that. 🙂

      Like

  7. Kudos to Greta. She is an example for all of us. But as an educator I hesitate to support school strikes since schooling is more important now than ever. Imagine how different things would be if the adults who are targeted by Greta and her friends had gone to school? (I mean, of course, schools that actually taught them to think.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • She certainly is. Ordinarily I would agree with you on being hesitant to support school strikes, but it happens that young people have little voice in society or government until they do something radical to be heard. I would have a definite problem with it if it were for a year or so. Although … after Parkland, one of the students who became an activist for gun control decided to take a one-year hiatus, with the blessing and approval of her parents, to pursue the cause. I don’t know the right answer, but I’m pleased to see the youth of the world stepping up to the plate.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Great bio on Greta. She has thousands of people now following her on Twitter. She takes her role very seriously and definitely uses her speeches to full impact. Her interviews are a little more uncomfortable. As you can hear, the tone of the adult voices are as though they are talking to a child. I wish they would be more adult like. Greta communicates in an adult fashion and would it seems, have more insight into the policies surrounding climate change initiatives (and lack of) than many government leaders.

    As an aside, although, the school strike for climate hasn’t yet hit the US, I have no doubt it will.

    Meanwhile, Arnold Schwarzenegger has been speaking up for Americans at COP 24. He is your voice there, and has reminded world leaders that your voice is not represented by the “Crazy” leader in the Whitehouse.

    https://t.co/DqZAfiBycq

    Liked by 1 person

    • I saw that she has over 2,000 Twitter followers … makes my 98 followers look rather pathetic! And I am now also one of Greta’s followers! And yes, Schwarzenegger has 100 times the common sense and intellect Trump has. Too bad HE wasn’t on the ballot in 2016!

      Like

      • Ah, I think Greta Thunberg
        @GretaThunberg has 25,000 plus followers on Twitter.

        My own Twitter page @colettebytes, has only 1,000 + followers, but most of those are genuine because I block any dubious followers.

        I am not sure Arnold would make president, but then I didn’t think the ‘Crazy’ in cheif would have either. 😶

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Wonderful insight from a little girl . It’s like many things ; we know the answer but we cannot bring ourselves to enact it , because of the personal sacrifices involved. Science has given us all the benefits of a pleasant easy going lifestyle and now it’s telling us to give up the advantages it has given us.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Exactly! I’ve been saying that the main reason many would deny the evidence right before their very eyes is that once they admit to the problem, then they will need to make some inconvenient lifestyle changes to work toward fixing the problem. Much simpler just to pretend it doesn’t exist and let “somebody else” worry about it.

      Liked by 1 person

I would like to hear your opinion, so please comment if you feel so inclined.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s