On Climate Change, Kids Make More Sense Than the Adults

Greta Thunberg makes her plea for action on climate change to a European Union assembly earler this April, 2019

“We have not come here to beg world leaders to care. You have ignored us in the past, and you will ignore us again. We have run out of excuses, and we are running out of time. We have come here to let you know that change is coming, whether you like it or not. The real power belongs to the people. Thank you.”

– the final words from an address Greta Thunberg, a then 15-year-old Swedish student and climate activist, delivered at a United Nations Summit on Climate Change this  December, 2018

A Brief Commentary by Doug Draper

Posted April 23rd, 2019 on Niagara At Large

This April 22nd, CBC Radio’s morning program, The Current, played the voices of one young person after another, ages f five or six years old and into their teens, raising concerns about a future over ever more frequent and severe climate-related disasters, and expressing a call for last-chance action to prevent such a nightmare

As I listened to the voices of these young people, I heard kids who sounded no older than six or seven who made infinitely more sense than Ontario Premier Doug Ford when he goes off on one of his Homer Simpson rants about climate change.

I heard kids of all ages make more sense than Canada’ prime minister, Justin Trudeau, when he stuttered and stumbled over words last year, when trying to explain why he spent more than four billions of dollars of Canadians’ tax money on a leaky old tar sands pipeline while major banks and financial groups around the world are investing in 21st century renewable energy projects and divesting their interests in aging oil and coal operations.

And I heard children who sounded like they were barely out of kindergarten make more sense than anything that comes out of the mouths of federal Tory leader Andrew Sheer and Alberta’s premier-elect and tar sands ambassador  Jason Kenny when they talk about dirty tar and concerns over protecting our environment.

One of the most remarkable young person I have heard in recent months is Greta Thunberg, a Swedish girl in her mid-teens, who spoke before representatives of a United Nations Summit on Climate Change this past December and spoke earlier this month to representatives of the European Union (EU).

One newspaper , the Guardian, described Greta’s address to the EU assembly this way –

“A sometimes tearful Greta Thunberg (from Sweden) criticised EU leaders in Strasbourg for not taking the threat posed by climate change seriously enough. The 16-year-old activist said: ‘If our house was falling apart our leaders wouldn’t go on like we do today … if our house was falling apart you wouldn’t hold three emergency Brexit summits and no emergency summit regarding the breakdown of the climate and the environment.”

You can hear what Greta had to say to the EU assembly by clicking on the screen below –

Here is text from the address Greta delivered to the UN Summit address in December 2018 –

“My name is Greta Thunberg. I am 15 years old, and I’m from Sweden. I speak on behalf of Climate Justice Now!

Many people say that Sweden is just a small country, and it doesn’t matter what we do. But I’ve learned that you are never too small to make a difference. And if a few children can get headlines all over the world just by not going to school, then imagine what we could all do together if we really wanted to.

But to do that, we have to speak clearly, no matter how uncomfortable that may be. You only speak of green eternal economic growth because you are too scared of being unpopular. You only talk about moving forward with the same bad ideas that got us into this mess, even when the only sensible thing to do is pull the emergency brake. You are not mature enough to tell it like it is. Even that burden you leave to us children.

But I don’t care about being popular. I care about climate justice and the living planet. Our civilization is being sacrificed for the opportunity of a very small number of people to continue making enormous amounts of money. Our biosphere is being sacrificed so that rich people in countries like mine can live in luxury. It is the sufferings of the many which pay for the luxuries of the few.

The year 2078, I will celebrate my 75th birthday. 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.

Until you start focusing on what needs to be done, rather than what is politically possible, there is no hope. We cannot solve a crisis without treating it as a crisis. We need to keep the fossil fuels in the ground, and we need to focus on equity. And if solutions within the system are so impossible to find, then maybe we should change the system itself.

We have not come here to beg world leaders to care. You have ignored us in the past, and you will ignore us again. We have run out of excuses, and we are running out of time. We have come here to let you know that change is coming, whether you like it or not. The real power belongs to the people.

Thank you.”

To that, this adult says ‘Amen’.

When will we ever learn? When will we listen and act?

To visit this amazing young person’s Facebook page, click on – https://www.facebook.com/gretathunbergsweden/ .

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“A politician thinks of the next election. A leader thinks of the next generation.” – Bernie Sanders

One response to “On Climate Change, Kids Make More Sense Than the Adults

  1. Gary Screaton Page

    I have worked with young people all my career. They never cease to amaze me. They are abundantly curious. They inquire into everything. They are full of questions. What is more they tend to be more intimately aware of their environment than most adults. Yes, they can be so preoccupied that they endanger themselves. However, in balance they often have great ideas.
    In 1967 a pupil of mine in elementary school built a model domed stadium with multi-use function intended. There was no such beast in Toronto for many year thereafter. Anther made an animated film in grade three. Still another third grader “discovered” inflation when taking part in a classroom economy.
    My own son, at age 9, started a business that made 40 years ago, $38 its first hour. He later appeared on Canada A.M.
    Young people have no shortage of ideas. Some are amazingly practical and can be highly profitable. Too many adults have given up having had little support for their thinking as kids.
    I can assure you, kids are still often more mindful and thoughtful about the environment than many adults. We need to keep encouraging their efforts while helping them explore their ideas and pursue their questions.


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