Watch this. It is Greta Thunberg’s remarks this morning at the UN climate summit.
She is right. We have betrayed her generation. We have failed them. Indeed, we have failed ourselves. Science has been pointing to what we have been doing to this planet for decades. Rachel Carson wrote about this in the 1960’s in her book Silent Spring for goodness sake. And we’ve done nothing. Sure, we are driving Prius’s now, but that actually makes zero impact.
Charles Eisenstein’s excellent book Climate: A New Story lays out much of the science behind what is really going on. And it’s not pretty. And we need to be much bolder than simply trying to have “clean energy”. We need to look at the entirety of our lives. We need to make some huge changes. Mostly, though, we need to recognize something fundamental: this world isn’t just a place for us to be. And it certainly isn’t just a collection of resources. No. This planet is something we are a part of. It is larger than us. We are just one piece, but a piece with some dangerous capacities. We can see how much we can be trusted with those capacities.
And this: we need to recognize how this is an equity and race issue. Those who are most impacted by what we have been doing to this earth so we can have nice things are largely Black and Brown people. They are also the ones least responsible for the changes happening all around us. We need to see how our indifference to climate change is rooted in our indifference to those people. No, that’s put poorly. It’s rooted in our dehumanizing of them. Our deep othering of them. Our killing of them. It’s part of the racist core that makes up this society. We cannot undo one without the other.
I think that the anger and sadness I feel is probably conveyed fairly well here.
One last thing I’d like to say here: I understand my anger and sadness as a privilege. We all need to see that. Those who are being killed today by climate change (not to mention the systemic racism that is out there killing people hour-by-hour) don’t have this privilege. They don’t have the space for one. And when they show up angry, they are generally shut down and called dangerous.
What is dangerous is the way we have held this. What we have and haven’t done. What we are doing now.
This has to change.