Every now and then – much more frequently these days than I would ever have believed in the past – something happens in the world that is not directly related to the topic of this blog but is so important that I want to give us a chance to discuss it.
Events move so quickly these days that you might think I'm talking about the whistleblower and the U.S. House of Representatives' opening a formal impeachment inquiry into President Trump. It certainly meets my criteria for this kind of blog post.
But I haven't caught up to that yet. I'm still on climate change, on the worldwide climate strike marches last Friday and that astonishing young girl who is wise and brave beyond her 16 years, Greta Thunberg.
Listen to her fierce and powerful speech to the United Nations' Climate Action Summit in New York City on Monday. Even if you have heard it before, it's worth paying attention to again. And again.
(You can read the transcript of Ms. Thunberg's U.N. speech at NPR.)
Isn't she wonderful. In the 30 years that have passed since science made it clear that humankind is killing our only planet, have you heard any world leader match her understanding and passion and intention?
She reminds me a bit of David Hogg and his fellow students who survived the Valentines Day 2018 mass shooting at Margery Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, and who are making their way through college these days while still working as gun control activists.
Ms. Thunberg inspires me. She makes me believe that we – humankind – can win the climate challenge before Earth is destroyed by it – even while I am still pessimistic.
Pessimistic about Earth's future because the leaders of the world attending the U.N. Climate Action Summit haven't offered a whit of concrete support for Ms. Thunberg's almost desperate call to action.
In an opinion piece in The Guardian, Michael H. Fuchs, noting that the United States should be leading world-wide cooperation to mitigate the effects of the climate crisis, compared Greta Thunberg and the U.S. President Trump:
”Her remarks reminded us what leadership, courage and sacrifice look like...”, Fuchs wrote.
“Trump refusing to participate in the UN climate summit was little surprise from a president who gutted domestic environmental protections, announced his intention to withdraw the US from the Paris climate agreement, and is even trying to prevent California from enacting higher emissions standards for automobiles.”
In Isaiah 11:6, the Old Testament tells us,
“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb,
The leopard shall lie down with the young goat,
The calf and the young lion and the fatling together;
And a little child shall lead them.
In the aftermath of terrible, frightening events like shootings and climate, it does seem like it is the children, not adults, who are leading the humane response.
Ms. Thunberg, who is actually a teen, won't be a child for much longer but as far as I can tell she is working circles around the grownups who refuse to face our ultimate existential problem.
It occurs to me that if her passion were matched with the knowledge of scientists, with others who can apply the scientists' solutions and still others who can organize countries worldwide, maybe, maybe, maybe there is a chance to save the planet.
Pipe dream? I hope with all my might it is not.
Last week, former U.S. President Barack Obama called Greta Thunberg “one of our planet’s greatest advocates.” It looks like she may have arrived at the last minute but perhaps there is still time if we start soon.
While she was in New York City, Ms. Thunberg was a guest on The Daily Show with host, Trever Noah. It's worth the eight minutes of your time.
If you want to know more about Greta Thunberg, Wikipedia has some good background, and there is a 30-minute Vice documentary titled, Make the World Greta Again about her early efforts. You will find it here.