I have written before about the young Swedish climate activist, Greta Thunberg, and in fact she was one of my ‘good people’ one Wednesday last December. Sometimes an activist will start like gangbusters, and then after a few months you hear nothing more about them, but not so Ms. Thunberg. I see her name in the news at least once a week, and she has been inspirational to many young climate-conscious groups around the world.
Today, she is back in the news, and in a big way! A couple of big ways, actually.
The first is that she is featured on the first track of the forthcoming album of British pop-rock band The 1975. In the track, Greta delivers a speech about the global climate emergency, against an instrumental background by the band. Now, I have never heard of The 1975, but I give them two thumbs up for this effort, as well as the fact that all proceeds from the track will be going to the climate action group Extinction Rebellion.
The full text of Greta’s speech on the track is at the end of this post.
In an interview with The Guardian, Greta said …
“I’m grateful to get the opportunity to get my message out to a broad new audience in a new way. I think it’s great that The 1975 is so strongly engaged in the climate crisis. We quickly need to get people in all branches of society to get involved. And this collaboration I think is something new.”
The second thing is that Greta has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize this year. She was nominated by Freddy Andre Oevstegaard, a parliamentary representative in Norway …
“We have nominated Greta because the climate threat may be one of the most important causes of war and conflict.”
The Norwegian Nobel Committee will announce its latest laureates in October, and those selected will receive their prizes in December. I do so want to see her win it!
And the third thing that has put Greta in the news this week is that she will be coming to the U.S. next month to attend a United Nations summit meeting on global warming in New York! Now, you may remember from my previous post about Greta that she does not fly on airplanes because of the CO2 emissions, so you may be wondering how she plans to get here.
“Good news! I’ll be joining the U.N. Climate Action Summit in New York. I’ve been offered a ride on the 60ft racing boat Malizia II.”
Malizia II, is outfitted with solar panels and underwater turbines to generate electricity. That should make the entire trip possible without burning any fossil fuels.
Boris Herrmann, who will skipper the boat, said the voyage would not be the luxury cruise that a high-tech yacht might conjure in the popular imagination. The Malizia II is built for speed, not comfort. It has no kitchen, refrigeration system, air-conditioning or showers.
Think about this one for a minute, folks. This young woman is so committed to saving our planet that she is willing to spend two weeks on a small boat, eating mostly freeze-dried and vacuum-packed meals, in order to do her part to save the environment. Greta is sixteen years old … most kids her age are attached at the hip to their cell phones, ipods, laptops, and wouldn’t dream of missing a shower or a hot meal, let alone spend two weeks in a small boat on choppy seas!
Greta will be accompanied on the trip by a filmmaker; her father, Svante; and Pierre Casiraghi, the head of the Malizia II racing team who is also the grandson of Prince Rainier III of Monaco and the American actress Grace Kelly.
Greta is, with her parents’ approval, taking the year off from school to campaign against climate change, also plans to attend the annual United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change talks in December in Santiago, Chile.
I was impressed by this young woman when I first wrote about her eight months ago, but today … the only word I have is “WOW!!!” She puts us all to shame, and particularly those who would “deny” climate science in order to justify their own greed.
I would like to end with a quote that was sent to me tonight by a very special friend:
“I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.” – Helen Keller
Ms. Thunberg is doing something that she can do … let’s all try to do just one thing more that we can do to help heal and protect our home, planet Earth.
Full text of Greta’s speech on The 1975 track:
We are right now in the beginning of a climate and ecological crisis.
And we need to call it what it is. An emergency.
We must acknowledge that we do not have the situation under control and that we don’t have all the solutions yet. Unless those solutions mean that we simply stop doing certain things.
We admit that we are losing this battle.
We have to acknowledge that the older generations have failed. All political movements in their present form have failed.
But homo sapiens have not yet failed.
Yes, we are failing, but there is still time to turn everything around. We can still fix this. We still have everything in our own hands.
But unless we recognise the overall failures of our current systems, we most probably don’t stand a chance.
We are facing a disaster of unspoken sufferings for enormous amounts of people. And now is not the time for speaking politely or focusing on what we can or cannot say. Now is the time to speak clearly.
Solving the climate crisis is the greatest and most complex challenge that homo sapiens have ever faced. The main solution, however, is so simple that even a small child can understand it. We have to stop our emissions of greenhouse gases.
And either we do that, or we don’t.
You say that nothing in life is black or white.
But that is a lie. A very dangerous lie.
Either we prevent a 1.5 degree of warming, or we don’t.
Either we avoid setting off that irreversible chain reaction beyond human control, or we don’t.
Either we choose to go on as a civilization or we don’t.
That is as black or white as it gets.
Because there are no grey areas when it comes to survival.
Now we all have a choice.
We can create transformational action that will safeguard the living conditions for future generations.
Or we can continue with our business as usual and fail.
That is up to you and me.
And yes, we need a system change rather than individual change. But you cannot have one without the other.
If you look through history, all the big changes in society have been started by people at the grassroots level. People like you and me.
So, I ask you to please wake up and make the changes required possible. To do your best is no longer good enough. We must all do the seemingly impossible.
Today, we use about 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 no longer save the world by playing by the rules. Because the rules have to be changed.
Everything needs to change. And it has to start today.
So, everyone out there, it is now time for civil disobedience. It is time to rebel.