Every politician on the British Parliament was left outspoken when a 16-year-old Swedish girl gave played her part of the debate on climate change. Greta Thunberg who suffers from autism has now become a moral authority. The 16-year-old climate activist totally slew in the British Parliament and even in the United Nations when she was asked some questions on the climate change.
She told the British Parliament, “This ongoing irresponsible behavior will no doubt be remembered in history as one of the greatest failures of humankind.” And when she conveyed a statement at the United Nations, she totally took over the hearts as she said, “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 is. Even that burden you leave to us children.”
Thunberg is just one of many great minds helping us to get aware of the moral clarity to address the rising problem, the climate crisis. Like Thunberg, there are people including the writers David Wallace-Wells, George Monbiot, and Anand Giridharadas; the historian Jill Lepore; and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), among many others. Here are some of the questions that Thunberg answered smartly and gently.
- Isn’t it alarmist to talk about the potential extinction of the human species?
It’s true that we don’t precisely know how this will all play out, but the evidence is overwhelming that the climate is already dangerously unstable, and extreme weather will be increasingly deadly to us and other species. “Our house is on fire,” as Thunberg put it, “I don’t want your hope. … I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day.”
We’ve already emitted enough greenhouse gases to cause 1.1 degrees Celsius of heating, most of it in a single generation, as David Wallace-Wells, author of The Uninhabitable Earth, points out. All decisions from here on out are the differences between, say, 1.5, 1.51, 1.52 degrees Celsius of warming and up to 4 degrees. Any of those scenarios will lead to an escalating burden of suffering for billions of humans yet unborn. And it’s not only our distant descendants: Today’s young people will grow up in a climate-altered by your choices right now.
- Isn’t it already too late to prevent catastrophe?
Irreversible changes to the biosphere are already well underway. But every fraction of a degree of additional heating matters. And that means every iota of greenhouse gas we choose to put into the atmosphere adds to the legacy of burdens we choose to impose on future humans and other species. So it’s not too late to stop avoidable climate cooking.
How do I deal with the fact that this is so depressing?
It is daunting, yes, but it can also be exciting, and inspiring. Humans living today have the opportunity and responsibility to play a role in saving civilization. This is the largest clear and present danger we’ve ever been called on to face. To use Ocasio-Cortez’s framing, this is like mobilizing for World War II, and everybody can play a role, from frontline heroics to the home front. The difference is that this frontline is everywhere. And in this war, inaction is a choice to aid and abet the enemy and to continue accelerating toward the climate-catastrophe cliff. Imagine if “the greatest generation” had shirked on the war effort because WWII seemed depressing?