Greta Thunberg spoke at the United Nations Climate Action Summit yesterday. She pulled no punches. (Watch her full, fiery, five-minute speech here.)
“You have stolen my dreams and my childhood!” roared Thunberg to the world leaders gathered for the Summit. “People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!”
Indeed, how dare they. The Summit, was convened to garner commitments for more aggressive action against climate change, and it did not go well. While some smaller nations stepped up to the plate with deeper, though still inadequate, commitments, the three biggest greenhouse gas emitters — the United States, China, and India — failed miserably.
The US stood alone in offering absolutely nothing. President Trump made only a brief, perfunctory appearance en route to a meeting about protecting religious freedom. He and Thunberg almost met in passing, and several photos captured the moment.
Trump, of course, couldn’t resist sarcastically tweeting his contempt for Thunberg, saying, “She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!” Credit Thunberg with an excellent sense of humor, as she then adopted “a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future” as her description on Facebook.
“How dare you!” Thunberg had chastised leaders at the Summit. But really, can’t that accusation be directed at most of the world, especially the US — the country most responsible for climate change? On the personal level, I realize it’s difficult, almost impossible in some spheres of activity, to live without contributing to the problem. Still, can’t each of us do more? How dare we NOT do more!
We CAN and we MUST do more! For my part, I feel a growing sense of urgency to speak and act more boldly, to try to wake people up to the precarious reality of our situation. I also feel compelled to do everything I can to minimize my own personal contribution to climate change. None of us can be fully prepared for what’s coming. But still, there’s much we can do to better position ourselves, our communities, and our planet to weather the storm. Stay tuned for more on that in future blogs.
“Right here, right now is where we draw the line,” concluded Thunberg. “The world is waking, and change is coming whether you like it or not.”
Don’t be left behind. History, like Thunberg, will never forgive you.