On the 23rd of September 2019, Greta Thunberg spoke to the UN Climate Action Summit. The audience was probably expecting a teenager to quote alarming yet previously known statistics about climate changes along with a call for action.
The impact would have lasted until the attendees made way to their respective businesses. Thunberg, however, criticized the ever-so glamorized economic development practitioners.
She fiercely pointed out that because of the mistakes that the previous and existing generation of adults have made, she has had to miss school and raise a voice. A voice to take action today so that our environment can be saved for tomorrow.
What is so wrong about what Greta, a 16 years old climate activist, said? Did the world at large not already know this? Is Donald Trump, amongst other world leaders, not criticized for his denial of climate change?
When the entire world accepts the massive threat that environmental damage poses to global sustainability, launching personal attacks on an activist and the bullying her 13 years old sister makes very little sense.
Greta is facing criticism that is far from rational and mature. Apart from a selected few, the negativities are directed towards her autism, gender, age, and nationality. In an interview with a Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter, Greta highlighted how her family members are subjected to regular harassment and hatred.
My issue with those bullies is this: do you not realize that the world Greta is trying to save is yours as well?
Enough links have been made between the treacherous criticisms against Greta and the deeper underlying concerns such as misogyny and corruption, which exist even in the most educated and developed nations.
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Nonetheless, this article has not set out to reiterate how cruel and unfounded it is to use Greta’s autism to invalidate her position. It is also not going to highlight how the world at large is sinking into a US-style culture war that emphasizes an individual’s background and persona as opposed to what he/she is emphasizing on.
This article wants to make something extremely clear – CLIMATE CHANGE IS REAL! It is not going to happen. It is happening. Amazonian rainforests have burnt down. Our fishes are dying because of plastic ingestion.
Unsustainable livestock farming and food wastage is fuelling and not fighting poverty. Parts of America and Asia inundate almost every year, causing damage to life, property, and yes, everyone’s favorite – the economy. Ice caps are melting and therefore endangering species.
If you really cannot comprehend the extent of these issues, have not once researched any of the inexhaustive list of concerns stated above and are still hell-bent on using your keypad to criticize rather than understand Greta, well… you’re hopeless!
But let me help you get a clearer picture of what is happening to our world.
In 2018, NASA published its statistics on the Annual Average Anomaly of global temperature. A graphical display of the results is provided below:
According to the same report, 18 out of 19 of the warmest years since 1951 have occurred after 2001. And you’re claiming that action against climate change is more than just window dressing? How dare you?
In another report by Lindsey and Dahlman for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a single degree rise in Earth’s total temperature, something that is often dismissed as minute, actually means that all of the Earth’s oceans, ice peaks and lands have accumulated massive heat. That’s scary.
It needs to be realized that this change in Earth’s overall climate drives regional and seasonal temperatures. Regional environmental catastrophes such as the recent floods in Chad and Cameroon create situations of death, disease, and homelessness.
These are subsequently bound to give rise to crime levels. Still, because it is coming from a teenage girl, it means that it is unimportant and joke-worthy.
At her UN speech, Greta kept a straight, verge of crying face, and many have criticized how she has only caused stress and fear in the world. But the scientific discoveries of global warming started during the 1970s, and since the 1990s, observational work supported the greenhouse effect theory.
Ever since scientific publications have been available to the world as proof that human/business activities are quite literally setting the Earth on fire.
Now we are drawing towards the end of 2019. It has been 50 years since climate change has been discovered as a reality.
For the sake of public perception management, there are initiatives such as the UN Climate Change, Paris Agreement, climate secretaries in governments, sustainability reporting by corporations, and whatnot. But in terms of an objective and quantifiable reality, we are still struggling to achieve a global warming rate of 1.5 degrees above the pre-industrial level.
Mother earth lost 1.3 million square kilometers of forests between 1990 and 2016. This alone shows not only the passivity on environmental protection initiatives but active, ongoing destruction. The world still wants Greta and her supporters to have a smiling face when she talks.
We are still in the negative in terms of destroying our environment, and local regulatory systems continue to protect those with money and power. We must remember here before women could vote, it was the law that they cannot vote.
Before those of color fought for their rights, it was the law that they ranked low in society. Laws are made by those in power to continue to protect their own prowess. Realization stems from within the society through leaders such as Thunberg, with or without autism.
Greta Thunberg has no personal vendetta against Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany, and Turkey. Increasing international pressure on these countries to meet their emission targets will not result in Greta receiving sums of money and a luxurious lifestyle.
The countries that have left the heaviest carbon footprints are the ones who are adamantly refusing climate change or any action against it. Unfortunately, regions of the third world countries continue to suffer the full blow of heat strokes, poor air quality, and floods.
It is for these countries, who are barely visible to the severely blinded and ill-directed developed nations that activists such as Greta need to skip school for. Achieving the targets of clean air to breath, pure water to drink, and sustainable food to eat is not a Greta thing. It is and should be every person’s thing.