I’m writing this on Friday, Sept. 20, the day when children around the world will once more be begging government and industry to do something about climate change.
Greta Thunberg, that courageous young Swedish girl who has been both vocal and active in her commitment to our survival as a species, has touched hearts all over the world. She has persuaded millions of children that all is not lost, that we can save our planet if we will just think and act.
When a rainforest such as the Amazon Basin is being burned so that protein (beef cattle and soy beans) can be raised there, we know that something terribly dangerous has begun.
Forests produce oxygen which we need for our survival. They also absorb carbon, which will kill us if it is not controlled. Maintaining forested lands and planting more trees will help us to continue living here, but deforestation will eventually starve our world of oxygen.
We have not discovered any way around this threat, so we must face it and take the steps necessary to halt, and then to reverse, our over-production of carbon compounds.
Children can understand this basic science, but industrialists and many politicians seem to believe in some miraculous escape mechanism that will save us. The vast profits being made by shareholders in carbon-producing industries have blinded them to the basic scientific processes that allow us to live on this planet. Our physiology has evolved to suit the environment, but if the environment continues to change at its current rate, evolution will not be able to keep pace. We have reached a point in our human evolution known as the Anthropocene Era, in which our own decisions, and our failures to decide, are governing the fate of the planet.
The days when we could think of evolution as something beyond our control are gone. We now need to plan and decide our own future as a species, and we do not have the luxury of time. In fact, we need to decide, and act, with some urgency. The children are hoping for a future on this planet, and in this environment. They love life.
We adults and elders, whose lives may have been free or enslaved, happy and healthy or sad and painful, must accept the wisdom of our children. They are begging us to help them. Will we listen, and think, and decide, and act, before it becomes too late?
I love life, and my children and grandchildren deserve to be given a chance to live on this planet, and to choose a more sustainable way of living. I’m sure all parents and grandparents feel much as I do, that our mistakes have brought us to the brink of disaster, and that the children should be spared. They love life, and I believe that given the chance, they will learn from our mistakes, and re-order their world to operate more humanely, more justly and more sustainably.