On a Sunday morning news program, I watched a teen-age girl from Sweden shame her elders, and this is anyone of legal age in the industrial nations. We are the parties responsible for bringing the world to the precipice. One might ask which precipice? Does it matter? But her concern is environmental catastrophe on account of climate change, largely caused by cavalier attitudes and refusal to engage by entire groups of persons.
A Scottish friend recently told me the world needs a Joan of Arc. World, meet Greta Thunberg. The standard she flies is her eloquence; her armor is science and bravery; her white steed is the media; her inspiring voices are those of her not-yet-born children and grandchildren. Her trial will be the nay-sayers and mocking multitudes that deny and ridicule her premise and mission.
Greta, trading the stake, has pledged to stop being a consumer; she has given up meat and dairy, and has turned away from air travel—all plainly stated, without defending her choices. It seems the world is past the argument. All three of her personal solutions and, I might add, proposals, are grounded in scientific studies and have been hashed out since Silent Spring, by Rachel Carson, in 1962. Our penchant for continual gratification (read: consuming and acquiring more and more) contributes to green-house gasses. Certain beef raising practices queer the balance of sustainable agriculture, and air travel accounts for “four to nine percent of the total climate change impact of human activity,” according to the David Suzuki Foundation.
I stand in awe of this child. We all should, but more important, we must begin to begin. Now. Eleven years, 2030, is the projected point of no return, we are warned. It is still possible to effect a change. If we begin. Now. We know what to do.