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Ethics & Religion
Column #2,000
December 18, 2019
Merry Christmas from Greta Thunberg
By Mike McManus

Merry Christmas from Greta Thunberg

Although Greta Thunberg is only 16 years old, she was selected as TIME's "Person of the Year." She has already spoken to the United Nations, the U.S. Congress, the British Parliament and the United Nations!

On a Friday In August, 2018, when she was only 15 years old, Greta, who is Swedish, decided not to go to school but to strike for climate change outside the Swedish Parliament. She sat by herself with signs that Friday. She returned the next Friday, and another teenager joined her.

Her Friday protests grew as she was joined by a swelling throng of young people. Not just in Sweden, but across many countries, she inspired children to organize similar protests.

Greta has now published a book, No One Is Too Small To Make a Difference, a collection of her speeches across the globe. She notes that a number of leading climate scientists wrote that we have "at most three years to reverse growth in greenhouse gas emissions if we're going to reach the goals set in the Paris Agreement."

That was a year and two months ago. Yet "greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase. So maybe we have even less time than the one year and ten months those scientists said we have left."

On September 8, 2018 Greta told the Swedish Parliament that "In Sweden...our individual carbon footprint is one of the worst in the world. This means that Sweden steals 3.2 years of natural resources from future generations every year."

She criticized "all the newspapers who still don't write about and report on climate change." And she accused "all the political parties that pretend to take the climate question seriously" and criticized "all the politicians that ridicule us on social media and have named and shamed me so that people tell me that I'm retarded, a bitch and a terrorist and many other things."

Greta Thunberg confessed that "Those of us who are still children can't change what you do now." But she wisely stated "If a few girls can get headlines all over the world just by not going to school for a few weeks, imagine what we could do together if we wanted to."

"Every single person counts. Just like every single emission counts...So please treat the climate crisis like the acute crisis it is and give us a future. Our lives are in your hands."

Ms. Thunberg told the UN Climate Change Conference on December 15, 2018 "We are about to sacrifice our civilization for the opportunity of a very small number of people to continue to make enormous amounts of money."

When she addressed the European Parliament, she asserted, "I want you to act as if your house was on fire." She acknowledged that "A great number of politicians have told me that panic never leads to anything good."

However, she replied "When your house is on fire and you want to keep your house from burning to the ground then that does require some level of panic."

Greta Thunberg addressed the U.S. Congress on September 18, 2019: "The USA is the biggest carbon polluter in history. And yet, you are also the only nation in the world that has signaled your strong intention to leave the Paris Agreement. Because, quote, ~It was a bad deal for the USA.'"

She acknowledged, "Americans have indeed made great sacrifices to overcome terrible odds before. Think of the brave soldiers that rushed ashore in that first wave on Omaha Beach on D-Day. Think of Martin Luther King and the 600 other civil rights leaders who risked everything to march from Selma to Montgomery."

"Think of President John F. Kennedy announcing in 1962 that America would `choose to go to the moon in this decade"...not because it is "easy," but because it is "hard."

Therefore, she told Americans "You must not gamble your children's future on the flip of a coin. Instead, you must unite behind the science. You must take action."

Hundreds of thousands of young people have been inspired by Greta Thunberg to protest in their streets. As TIME put it, "This was the year the climate crisis went from behind the curtain to center stage...And no one did more to make that happen than Thunberg."

She traveled to the United States by sailboat, to avoid flying by plane which consumes huge amounts of fuel. She sailed back to Sweden for many days, telling TIME, "I'd like to tell my grandchildren that we did everything we could, and we did it for them and for the generations to come."

What a heroine!


Copyright (c) 2019 Michael J. McManus, a syndicated columnist and past president of Marriage Savers. To read past columns, go to Hit Search for any topic.

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