Saturday, January 26, 2019

Kids These Days!

Here's Greta Thunberg, 16, at Davos 2019, the World Economic Forum:

At places like Davos, people like to tell success stories. But their financial success has come with an unthinkable price tag. And on climate change, we have to acknowledge we have failed. All political movements in their present form have done so, and the media has failed to create broad public awareness. 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. . . . 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. Either we do that or we don’t. . . . 
Some say we should not engage in activism. Instead we should leave everything to our politicians and just vote for a change instead. But what do we do when there is no political will? What do we do when the politics needed are nowhere in sight? Here in Davos – just like everywhere else – everyone is talking about money. It seems money and growth are our only main concerns. . . . We must change almost everything in our current societies. The bigger your carbon footprint, the bigger your moral duty. The bigger your platform, the bigger your responsibility. Adults keep saying: “We owe it to the young people to give them hope.” But I don’t want your hope. I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. And then I want you to act. I want you to act as you would in a crisis. I want you to act as if our house is on fire. Because it is.

Here's the whole thing:


John B. said...

It is about money and the resources it commands while it still can. If they can grab enough of it, they reason that they can remain afloat and unmolested. Until it's worthless, acquiring more money will continue to hold their attention.

The Mound of Sound said...

Ms. Thunberg's powerful remarks inspired me to write a piece about what she was telling us about her generation and how they will depict us when it's their turn to write the history books.

It quickly came to me that our leaders will be branded monsters. Stephen Harper, Justin Trudeau, and their contemporaries in the developed world will go down as monsters of a scale previously unknown to human civilization.

They have full knowledge of what is happening and the enormity of the looming threats. They know how the worst catastrophe can be avoided and they have the power to do that. However, what makes them worse than the monsters of the past is that they're not driven by madness or xenophobia or paranoia or any of the other base instincts that have fueled the outrages of the past. What drives them is greed, the quest for ever more and a short-termer's willingness to kick even mortal threats down the road.

Emissions had a substantial uptick in 2018. There'll be another this year. OPEC and the International Energy Agency see a great future for fossil fuels, including coal, into the 2040s. We're projected to go from 100 million barrels of oil per day to 112 million barrels per day by 2050. Cuts to coal consumption in the developed world will be eclipsed by the rise of coal in the developing world. We're supposed to be completely decarbonized by 2050 but we stand to be even worse than we've ever been in the past.

We've known for more than thirty years of this existential threat and the gravity and pace of it has become increasingly well revealed with each passing year since James Hansen testified before Congress in 1988. And yet our leaders have done nothing to rein in the growth of cheap, fossil energy. Even today Canada's government of the self-proclaimed environmentalist, Trudeau, is determined to push through another massive pipeline to my coast in order to flood world markets with the most toxic, highest-carbon ersatz petroleum on the planet. What is that if not monstrous?

Marie Snyder said...

Absolutely - history won't be kind to them. But there might not be anyone around to write those books, so, all in! No point using prudence to make wise longterm decisions if there's no longterm to count on! (Thanks to them and their ilk - and us, of course, but mainly them.)

David said...

I went to a talk two weeks ago listening to Bob Sanford discuss climate effects based on 2018. He noted that we're likely passed the 2 degree change given BC's wildfire season in 2018 and the high likelihood of another catastrophic wildfire season next year and for every year afterwards.

We don't think of this as a crisis. Even if governments want to do this, there is no public will to let governments create actions necessary. Every day that I continue to work on these issues, I think that Thanos is right. MaddAdam is right. People don't listen until it's too late?

Well, I think it's too late and people (adults) aren't listening.

Marie Snyder said...

I think you're right, David. Now we have to try to face the next few decades with as much grace and compassion as we can muster as we continue to try to force the hand of government to slow things down just a bit!