Wednesday, 16 October 2019

No One is Too Small to Make a Difference

The book of the year? Maybe. Certainly one of the most important ones. Climate change is the issue of our time. Right here, right now. 

It really is extraordinary that it has taken a diminutive schoolgirl from Sweden to mobilise the world. Not into taking action mind you, we haven't managed that as yet, but we have seen global passion and protest that I think is unprecendented. As well it should be. 

I want you to act as if our house is on fire.
Because it is. 
No One is Too Small to Make a Difference is a small book. Almost a pamphlet. Some have criticised the book to say that it is repetitive. Which is to miss the point entirely. It is a collection of 11 speeches written and delivered by Greta Thunberg from September 2018 to April 2019. Some of these speeches have been delivered to a variety of rather distinguished audiences, the British Houses of Parliament, the European Parliament and the World Economic Forum. Others have been delivered to rallies, and even a Facebook post. 

I really had no idea where Greta Thunberg had sprung from. Yes, I'd heard about her rise to prominence in the past few months, but it was fascinating to read it from her perspective in I'm Too Young to Do This, a Facebook post from 2 February 2019. Greta won a newspaper writing contest about climate change in early 2018, and after that she came into contact with activists and groups. She liked the idea of a school strike, but no-one else was interested. 
But since I am not that good at socializing I did this instead. I was so frustrated that nothing was being done about the climate crisis, and I felt like I had to do something, anything. And sometimes NOT doing things- like just sitting down outside parliament - speaks much louder than doing things. Just like a whisper is sometimes louder than shouting. 
She posted her initial School Strike on Instagram and Twitter, it went viral, and that, as they say, is history. Greta's sense of urgency is one of the most striking things.

We are about to sacrifice our civilisation for the opportunity of a very small number of people to continue to make enormous amounts of money. We are about to sacrifice the biosphere so that rich people in countries like mine can live in luxury. But it is the sufferings of the many which pay for the luxuries of the few. 
So is her determination to make a difference. 
The climate crisis is both the easiest and the hardest issue we have ever faced. The easiest because we know what we must do. We must stop the emissions of greenhouse gases. The hardest because our current economics are still totally dependent on burning fossil fuels, and thereby destroying ecosystems in order to create everlasting economic growth. 

It is sobering to read that "we are failing but have not yet failed".

It's fascinating to ponder why (mainly) men are so threatened by this small 16 year old Swedish schoolgirl. One who is after all trying to save the earth for all of us. It's incredible that all this started with Greta sitting down outside the Swedish parliament on Fridays. It's incredible that she can not only stand up to this torrent of abuse, but that she can even can push back. We ignore her at our peril. 


I'm Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

Wow. She is such a powerful speaker. Everything she says is true.

I feel helpless. Can we make the changes we need to make? I don’t know.

Louise said...

I don't know either, but we just need to try.