My first reaction to Greta was both positive and negative, the latter of which I’ve had more time to think about and revise my opinion. The CBC ran an article on her shortly after her School Strike for Climate began. Initially, I thought, good for you Greta, your parents must be proud. If my child were making a political statement, I’m certain I would be proud, whether or not I agreed with them. Since then, I realized that the purity of Greta’s stance is apolitical. She’s not a politician, she’s a fearful young lady, concerned for the wellbeing of her planet and the life it sustains. Her life. My life. You get it.
My second thought upon reading the article was that, as proud of her as I was, I would not be taking a 16-year-old too seriously. What could Greta possibly know about climate issues and the domino impacts it’s created? A kids perspective was minimally worth anyone’s time, I pondered, because she couldn’t possibly comprehend the enormity of the problem, never mind advance any solutions. Nevertheless, I followed her on Twitter and continued to read and watch reports about her.
Since then, I acknowledge Greta as the solution to the greatest portion of the climate problem, getting the rest of us to pay attention. Finally! It turns out that Greta knows far more than I (a self-proclaimed advocate of climate change) do about the science. Since following her, my comprehension has magnified many fold, as have my actions to do something. My wife and I, because of an unusual lifestyle more than a commitment to climate, already have a comparatively low carbon footprint. We rarely drive anywhere, and when we do, once there we mostly walk wherever we go when we get there. We dress in warmer clothes and layers instead of adjusting the heat to meet our needs. We buy locally when we can. We take short showers, always turn the lights off when not needed, and are fanatics about waste. However, thanks to Greta, we realize that we need to take bigger, more impactful steps, and we’ve begun learning what these may be. Like our recent decision to give up beef – completely.
Foremost amongst Greta’s teaching is to spread the word – which is what I am doing now. Greta admits that she is young and doesn’t have a solution. That ‘the’ solution isn’t likely to be one thing. But whatever the solutions are to be, admonishing and embarrassing us, adults, into action is maybe the biggest driver for change since science brought this problem to the world’s attention at least 50-years ago. Gathering the youth of the world to comprehend the challenges of climate change and creating global political momentum has been the single greatest accomplishment in these many decades. Thank you, Greta. I’m finally listening.
Below is a list of links I’ve gathered to answer the bulk of questions I’ve had since Greta took her stance. At a minimum, they will help you comprehend the problem and apprise you of what is being done and/or contemplated currently.