Greta Thunberg addresses the National Assembly (Photo: Getty)

     What Can Greta Teach Us?

    7 June 2019

    Greta Thunberg is the 16-year-old school girl who is teaching the adult world a lesson. Politicians across the Western World are attending her classes and discovering insight in her lectures. Lost for words, they usher her onto public platforms to speak in their place. So, what is Greta teaching us? What can we learn?

    Feel the Fear

    Some cynics have dismissed Greta as a frightened child. But we should be frightened. The increase in the average global temperature by 0.15c degrees over the past decade is utterly terrifying. Try moving five feet in any direction, right now, and you will experience a comparable change in temperature. Feel the terror. This is real. This is happening.

    Clarity of Vision

    Although our understanding of planetary-wide thermo-dynamics is in its infancy, temperature change forecasts are notoriously inaccurate and energy policy decisions have profound implications, Greta has delivered a simple message: “We Are Going To Die”. She has succeeded in producing clarity out of complexity. We must amplify her simple message and deafen those who wish to confuse us with alternative views.

    The Wisdom of Youth

    Adults make judgements based on their life experience, but wisdom no longer comes with age. Greta has taught us that the naivety of youth produces true enlightenment. Can you remember what you were like as a 16-year-old and the passions that drove you? Hold onto that thought. When you are next in the polling booth, transport yourself back to your teenage years and ask yourself, what would my morally pure 16-year-old self do?

    Implement Emergency Measures

    We can all be Greta. Declare a climate emergency and start to implement emergency measures. Create a barricade across your street and, as your neighbours return from work, demand that they take one action per day to reduce their carbon footprint to zero.

    Simple examples include:

    •  If injured, refuse to be carried into an ambulance fuelled by diesel
    • Reject Amazon parcels unless they are delivered by bicycle or donkey
    • Teenagers can forgo their gap year and pretend to fly around the living room, rather than around the world
    • Turn off gas central heating and snuggle up to a nearby dog or cat to keep warm

    The truly committed can:

    • Glue a prized body part to a passing train or lorry
    • Swim with a school of mackerel in the Atlantic to show solidarity
    • Breath in oxygen, but refuse to breathe out carbon dioxide and become a carbon storage cadaver