Updated: Jan 3, 2020
The past few months have been highly strung and controversial, that is when it comes to climate change, kids standing up for themselves and the power of continuous conversation around our future as a race, but also the future of the planet.
About 10 years ago I had a deep and argumentative conversation with a family member on climate change, climate science and that as humans we can do better. The debate, if you call it that, was very dominated from the other side saying that climate change is unproven, it is a science backed by a lot of hacks and that the world is warming regardless. I must add that the book he was referring to his research was funded by the mining industry and giants and the climate scientist was well in bed with them, yeah???? My response was well if all that you say is true, and it could be, couldn’t humans designing, manufacturing, consuming etc etc do a better job!! That has always been my point. If the world is warming naturally, without the added effects of humans love of fossil fuels, overconsumption and the system we are now so deeply rooted in, the growth model blah blah blah, humans can do better, but on a large scale choose not to.
Just like this heated debate with my family member the controversy around Greta Thunberg and the climate strikes across the world have stirred people up, and I think that is good. Even if the debates are heated, vitriolic and at times down right incorrect, people are talking and that is better than being numb and not being involved at all. Lets face it, the past couple of generations have just gone with the flow, we have all had a part to play in the changes that our world has seen and if for a moment we didn’t think we each individually played a part somehow then we are delusional. So whilst trolling through facebook, instagram and all the other socials in the past few months I have seen a lot of support for the kids striking against climate change, remember these kids cannot vote yet, this is their way of standing up and being counted. But on the other hand I have seen plenty of sermons delivered by various peoples on social media saying that these kids, our kids, the kids of the world need to go to these marches, by horse and cart would be good, leave their phones at home and get off the internet as these are all industries powering fossil fuels. Well, there is a point to be made, I think, it is that our kids are using all of the spoils of the modern world but complaining that the adults aren’t doing anything about the devastation that we are facing. The first computer was designed in 1936, It was the size of a container, filled a room, you couldn’t carry it around in your back pocket, and we were still getting around on horse and cart at the time, oh and few beautifully made vehicles.
The past 30 years has seen technology speed up, and technology has done some amazing things, kept people alive, made prosthetic limbs, delivered the www. But what is difficult to listen to is the hate and vitriol being spewed out about how kids should be protesting, communicating with carrier pigeons, as if!!!! You wouldn’t be sitting there reading this if it weren’t for the tech boom. How do you expect our kids to exist in a world we created for them without using this kind of platform?
Now let's talk about the news of Greta Thunberg. Here we have a young adult, who last year, only 1 year ago protested on her own out the front of the parliament in Sweden, against climate change and calling the powers to action. 1 year on and over 300000 youth protested and went on strike worldwide calling their governments to action on climate change. That’s pretty powerful stuff, but let’s examine the reasons why she has risen to the status so quickly and why there has been plenty of slandering, denial and applause for this girl. People think she is puppeting for darker forces, being guided by someone else’s agenda. Firstly I think that is hilarious, and honestly people should think about what they are saying and do a bit of research, climate research, looking at the government's role in the destruction of the planet but also look at our own existence and how we all affect the future of the planet. Are our government officials and major decision makers not also being puppeted by big industry, big pharma, banking corporations, mmmmmmmmmm we are surrounded by puppets, I think I prefer the Greta Thunberg version of the puppet, at least she is thinking about how we will survive beyond our ridiculous wealth and fences we are building. Could it just not be that there is authenticity to this girl, that her story and her message is one of stopping the over consumption, reigning it in a bit, looking at alternatives for a better future, and as Greta puts it, we are stealing her youth, for what in return? In the West we have been lazy, asleep and waiting for someone else to make the first move?
My point here is in the past 20 years, which is my timeline for anecdotal memory, technology, progress, fast fashion, fast food, fast travel, automobiles, have all become really available, and for a fraction of the cost of 20 years ago. Don’t you think that is crazy???? I want to ask this question, when you first saw a t-shirt in a massive supermarket chain for $3, did you consider how it could be made for that, or did you just see a bargain I must admit at first I saw a bargain, never considering why this shop could now pump out heaps of volume, cheaper and quicker than ever before. There is, or must be a magical fairy that has been able to produce fabrics and materials at a fraction of the cost they were 20 years ago and for these retail items to have missed inflation, because it seems ridiculous that I cannot buy fabric to make a dress cheaper than it costs to buy the same dress. Our industries have become so interwoven with our government policies, our banking institutions and the destruction of the planet has been the victim in all of it.
So without being a miserable and pessimistic soul, I am filled with hope. I have to be to continue moving forward without falling in a sad heap. Without the rise of technology we wouldn’t be able to see the messages from both sides of the coin being displayed so frequently and fervently, without people connecting via social media we wouldn’t have group activities or social gatherings which create conversations around our future and our planet, without kids asking for adults to help them, we would still be waiting around for someone else to do it, except of course for the few who have always been aware and have been saying this for years and years. This conversation we are having now and debating is not a new conversation, it has been raised by many scholars since the 60’s, published in journals and then fallen off the radar. The advent of technology has been able to see this movement progress quicker than ever before and finally we may have some traction. Politics and people will change and are currently changing, we have to. Greta and her quarter of a million kids worldwide are making impacts and creating a stir, we all have to get on board in some way, even if we are not in total agreement about the science, who is to blame etc etc, but as humans and people of the world we need to care and think more tactically, with a community mind and a spirit of our indigenous brothers and sisters. To think that we are separate from the planet is at this point in time absolutely ludicrous, we are made of water, need oxygen to breathe, food to sustain us and shelter to protect us from the elements, these are all things animals and plants need to reproduce and keep going. I like Greta, I like what she stands for, and for the stir she is creating. I plan to be a part of the changes, to be up front on the bus and to keep creating conversations and educating myself. I look forward to seeing the technology catch up with what needs to change, to see the community come together and look at better ways of being neighbour's, with each other and our animal friends.