Today, a Swedish schoolgirl addressed our parliament. She was greeted with great enthusiasm by most of our politicians. John Bercow, the Speaker of the House, was great in his praise for her. Her name was Greta Thunberg and her message was simple. Do something about the planet or her generation will die.
The response was typical. On Twitter she was insulted and harried by (mostly) older white males who slammed her for everything they could think of like the fact that she has Asperger’s syndrome. And that her mum was a Eurovision contestant.
That sounds a bit pathetic because it was. Utterly pathetic.
In a nutshell, Greta’s message can be summed up in a very neat analogy: Assume you are standing on a railway track. There is a train speeding towards you. It is not going to stop. Do you get off the tracks or do you stand and think about the options? The train is our extinction and the person on the tracks is…well, all of us.
Greta spoke extremely well (English is her second language, something else she was criticised about though by people who don’t speak Swedish) and she needs to be heard if we expect her generation to still exist by the second half of this century. Here’s just a snippet of her speech:
Around the year 2030, 10 years 252 days and 10 hours away from now, we will be in a position where we set off an irreversible chain reaction beyond human control, that will most likely lead to the end of our civilisation as we know it. That is unless in that time, permanent and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society have taken place, including a reduction of CO2 emissions by at least 50%.
Of all the politicians who heard her message, our pathetic Prime Minister, the person who did not show her face after Grenfell, the person responsible for the continuing stagnation of this country, possibly the worst prime minister in history, didn’t bother turning up. I don’t know why. Perhaps it interfered with her annual holidays.
Whatever her reasons for not being there, it’s an indication of how the world views the next generation. The message is clear: Kids today can go fuck themselves for all we care.
You don’t listen to the science because you are only interested in solutions that will enable you to carry on like before. Like now. And those answers don’t exist any more. Because you did not act in time.
Greta is a nominee for a Nobel Peace prize and is spreading her message across the entire planet. She doesn’t catch planes to do it, preferring the more environmentally friendly train and ferry options. She speaks because she has to. She cares about the future unlike most of us who are more concerned about ourselves.
The people who could help are sitting on their hands. And the rest of us are humming.