There is No Time Left for Delay and Denial. Our Last Chance to Address the Climate Crisis is Here and Now!
“We can no longer save the world by playing by the rules,” says 16-year-old Greta Thunberg, a climate activist from Sweden, “because the rules have to be changed.”
A Commentary by Doug Draper
Posted March 15th, 2019 on Niagara At Large
At a United Nations conference on climate change last December, a remarkable 16-year-old girl from Sweden named Greta Thunberg, rose to the podium in front of an audience of greying adults and said the following –
“In the year 2078, I will celebrate my 75th birthday,” she said. “If I have children maybe they will spend that day with me. Maybe they will ask me about you. Maybe they will ask why you didn’t do anything while there still was time to act. You say you love your children above all else, and yet you are stealing their future in front of their very eyes.”
The year 2078 may be way too late for Greta’s children to ask that question about us, if they are around to ask any questions at all.
In a story I read last October in The New York Times, William D Nordhaus, a Yale University economist who was a recipient of the Nobel Prize for Economic Science last year for papers he helped write on the need to put a price on climate-altering carbon emissions (an idea that dangerous idiots Ontario’s Doug Ford , Canada’s chief Tory Andrew Scheer and America’s fake president Donald Trump smear off, for the purposes of scaring the public, as a “carbon tax”), stressed that the point of no return for the planet may come much sooner than that.
Nordhaus pointed to a recent report from the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluding that, as the Times story puts it. “if greenhouse gas emissions continued unabated, the atmosphere would warm up to 1.5 degrees Celsius, or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit, by 2040, leading to irrevocable damage, including severe food shortages, coastal inundations and the displacement of tens of millions of people as soon as 2040.”
“If the planet keeps warming to 2 degrees Celsius, or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, the effects could include devastating floods and droughts and the permanent loss of the world’s coral reefs,” continued the Times story of the U.N. science panel’s conclusions.
We don’t have to wait that long for costly and even lethal damage to whole environments and communities though.
Right now, in this second decade of the century, the news has been full of reports of severe climate shifts, occurring with ever more frequency, creating the conditions for floods, winds, droughts and wildfires that have cost lives and caused countless billions of dollars’ worth of damage.
This Friday, March 15th, countless hundreds of thousands of young people around the world, inspired by the address Greta delivered at that U.N. climate conference last December, skipped school to attend demonstrations and call for action now to address the climate crisis.
As I combed through the coverage of these demonstrations, I hardly saw a person in my age range – 60 years or older – in the sea of young faces.
Why is that? And why do a disproportionate number of older people push the need to do anything about climate change off as if it is a distant problem, and why do they continue to support politicians like Ford, Scheer and Trump?
“You will die of old age. Our children will die from climate change,” reads a sign pictured at one demonstration.
In the meantime, those of us who are older will expect these young people work and pay taxes that cover the cost of our pensions and health care.
Do we not have a responsibility to act on the climate crisis now, to ensure that these same young people have a chance for a liveable future?
Shame on all those who, through their lack of action and stubborn support for an unsustainable status quo, say no.
If you haven’t already watched Greta Thunberg speak at the U. N. climate conference last December, I encourage you to click on the screen below –
Read the following column by Greta Thunberg in The Guardian from January 2019 – https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jan/25/our-house-is-on-fire-greta-thunberg16-urges-leaders-to-act-on-climate
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“A politician thinks of the next election. A leader thinks of the next generation.” – Bernie Sanders