FOR TOMORROW

Young and old need to fight global warming

In Thunberg’s words, there is a tomorrow.

In Summary
  • Thunberg is afraid of tomorrow because oceans will rise, diseases will surge, children will go hungry and conflicts will increase.
  • We the adults, of the short-future, are obligated to bequeath a livable planet to Thunberg’s generation.
Teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg during the opening of the 74 United Nations General Assembly in New York on Monday.
Teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg during the opening of the 74 United Nations General Assembly in New York on Monday.
Image: COURTESY

She has boycotted school. She has spent days camped outside parliament. She has met the Pope. She has met presidents. She inspires millions; young and old. She has been compared to Joan of Arc. Thanks to her, her clarion call for action, climate action, is the word of the year.

Greta Thunberg has been named Time magazine’s Person of the Year for 2019. This is truly deserved. She has spearheaded a moral clarion call to those who are willing to act. Most importantly, she has demonstrated that the young people are ready to make urgent climate action their own cause.

Thunberg has enjoined a truly intergenerational movement. In her words; we can’t just continue living as if there was no tomorrow, because there is a tomorrow. And that tomorrow belongs to Thunberg’s generation.

 

And Thunberg is afraid of tomorrow because oceans will rise, diseases will surge, children will go hungry and conflicts will increase. Early in January at the World Economic Forum she told world leaders and CEOs, “I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. And then I want you to act.”

The list of previous Time magazine persons of the year include Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump, Bono, Bill Gates, Angela Merkel, Barack Obama, Pope Francis and Jamal Khashoggi. Evidently, Thunberg is a stranger in this league table. She is not a politician. She is not a billionaire. She is not a pop star. And she is not a religious leader.

Thunberg embodies what must become an all-encompassing, intergenerational dialogue and action to forestall catastrophic climate change. When she says there is tomorrow the point she makes so poignantly is that those politicians who continue to debate the fact of global warming will not be in power forever.

Thunberg is a teenage girl, just 16 years old. She has no access to the global power architecture. By galvanising penetrating outrage and a sense of urgency on climate action, Thunberg has become a forceful icon and standard-bearer in what is truly an intergenerational battle to save our own kind.

Thunberg embodies what must become an all-encompassing, intergenerational dialogue and action to forestall catastrophic climate change. When she says there is tomorrow the point she makes so poignantly is that those politicians who continue to debate the fact of global warming will not be in power forever.

We the adults, of the short-future, are obligated to bequeath a livable planet to Thunberg’s generation. That livable planet demands that we keep global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees Celsius to avoid extreme weather events; heatwaves, floods, sea level rise, droughts, disease and resource conflict.

Thunberg’s moral clarity and piercing outrage have inspired millions of young people around the globe. Responsible world leaders like French President Emmanuel Macron are paying attention. Former US Vice President Al Gore believes Thunberg’s leadership injects a unique urgency.

However, other leaders like US President Donald Trump think Thunberg is angry. But as Thunberg says; “People are underestimating the force of angry kids.” Thunberg does not need to go a good old-fashioned movie with a friend as Trump suggests.

 

World leaders like Trump and leaders of countries such as Australia, Brazil, China, India must rise and lead and not derail or frustrate the implementation of the Paris Agreement.