Swedish student Greta Thunberg, 16, has galvanized a movement, inspiring students worldwide to tell adults their future is at stake. (Photo: Anders Hellberg via Wikimedia Commons)
“And a little child shall lead them.” – Isaiah 11:6
At 16, Greta Thunberg may not be a little child, but she’s showing tremendous leadership. The Swedish student has galvanized a world movement, pressing adults to remove the blinkers of corporate and political self-interest and recognize that their refusal to respond appropriately to climatologists’ urgent warnings is leading to the destruction of a future for all generations to come.
Children don’t have a large stake in the status quo so they aren’t bound by the constraints of business and politics. They aren’t yet part of it, except as budding consumers and victims of political machinations. Children speak from their hearts with an innocence, naiveté and idealism only they possess.
Children don’t have a large stake in the status quo so they aren’t bound by the constraints of business and politics.
For decades, environmentalists calling for government action to transform our energy sources from fossil fuels to cleaner renewables have been marginalized as unrealistic, extremists or anti-business. Even activists have imposed self-restraint in our calls for political action lest we be seen as a threat to jobs, corporate interests or the economy.
Thunberg’s laser focus is on what politicians are doing (or not doing) rather than saying. And what they’re doing is refusing to take the necessary actions outlined in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s special report in October. It warns that failing to substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the next 11 years will put humanity — and numerous other species — on the road to catastrophe.
The United Nations established the IPCC in 1988 to be the most authoritative source of scientific information on climate change, compiling research from scientists and experts worldwide to inform governments and the public of the current state of scientific knowledge. Because it’s intergovernmental, its reports are vetted by countries like Saudi Arabia, the U.S. and Russia, which have their own agendas. This makes the reports invariably cautious. Every IPCC prediction (temperature, sea level rise, weather events) over five-year periods has fallen short of what actually occurred.