The discussion on global climate change has been given new life. This is thanks, in part, to Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old environmentalist from Sweden. She is the face of a growing movement which aims to combat global warming and has gained significant traction since her rise a year ago.
Greta has amassed an extensive following, primarily among today’s youth, because she represents something bigger than herself. She stands for a message that has largely been ignored by previous generations: we treat the earth like shit. Future generation’s lives may be at stake. If we don’t do something now, we may not get another chance (I’m paraphrasing, of course).
It’s clear. It’s true. It resonates. But most importantly, she isn’t backing down.
Greta’s poise, enthusiasm, and extensive knowledge of the subject-matter have made her a hero to supporters around the world. Unfortunately, there are just as many enemies who see her as a threat. And rightfully so. Her ability to speak with such fervor and unwavering commitment to her stance is inspiring. She is making waves, and detractors don’t like waves. The sad part is that she’s sixteen and there’s a target on her back (click here for evidence).
Regardless of what people say about her or the position they take, she is a shining example of what passion, dedication, and determination can do if you believe in yourself.
Environmental Protectionism is Nothing New & Neither is Greta’s Message.
Growing up there were several campaigns designed to raise awareness about man’s role in the destruction of our ecosystem. We had the Save the Rainforest crusade, Al Gore’s “radical” moves in the ’90s, and my favorite, Captain Planet. The latter was a cartoon that, I would argue, made caring for the earth a cool thing to do.
The ’70s had the tree-huggers and the 2000s had the Think Green initiative. It seems that each decade had its own wave of people fighting to protect the earth.
Each campaign was met with pushback. Similar to what we see now.
Changing public opinion is hard. Examining U.S. history makes that statement obvious. But asking people to change the way they live, forget about it!
A lot of pushback comes from those who hold positions of power. One need only follow the money to figure out where one’s allegiance lies. Many among the powerful take out misleading ads or pay for and publish their own studies to discredit scientific ones. There is also money in well-established markets like oil distribution…try convincing people who own stock in those companies to change their ways. You might as well ask them to light all their cash on fire. More than likely, their response would be the same.
But lately, I’ve been hearing arguments from evangelical climate change deniers that don’t quite make sense.
‘God is in control. Give it up to HIM. Let HIM take care of it.’
How do you know God isn’t testing you? Us?
He has had a history of testing man and we failed most tests, miserably. God flooded the earth, killed newborns, and sent plagues to Egypt because of our failures. He even sent His son to save us and we Killed Him!
Is it far-fetched to think that this is just another test? The creator of all things made this big, beautiful world for us and we can’t even keep it remotely clean!
I heard an argument which referenced Genesis 9 where God promised not to flood the earth again. The person speaking said that we don’t have to worry about the ocean levels rising because of this promise. Fine, I’ll give you that one…kinda.
But, according to many scientists, the rising sea-levels could bring about famine, war, hurricanes, earthquakes, and wildfires—everything depicted in the book of Revelations. Basically, these things are signs that Armageddon is coming, according to the Bible (and scientists).
My last argument.
To me, it doesn’t matter if you believe in climate change or not. You don’t have to care one bit about what Greta has said but let me ask, what’s the big deal? Why the pushback?
Don’t you get tired of the trash on the streets making your neighborhood look ugly? Or how about finding cigarette butts on the beach or glass in the sand?
Are environmentalists asking for too much? Is it too much to ask us not to throw trash out our windows on the highway? How about sorting our trash into two containers? One for recyclables and one for garbage? Or is it too much to ask us to eat better by cutting out some meat and adding fruits and veggies? How about shopping locally, if possible? Can you do little things like bike or walk to more places and become less reliant on vehicles for transportation? It’d be better for the earth and for you to get a little fresh air and exercise!
Can we sacrifice some of our conveniences for the sake of others? Ourselves? Our children?
I have two analogies for those who don’t believe in climate change. The first, pretend the earth is your mother’s house. You wouldn’t leave trash lying around there, would you? Pretend mom is God. If she (God) found you leaving trash, you would feel her wrath!
The second analogy is for homeowners who love their yards. You do your damndest to keep the kids, debris, and imperfections from tarnishing it. Let’s act like the earth is just an extension of that. Do your part to keep it in tip-top shape!
Overall, it doesn’t matter what you believe. It’s about having a little respect for the earth and each other. We take what the earth has provided for granted, and I believe it will come back to bite us if we don’t clean up our act. Every little thing counts. Even if you don’t believe in it, is really too much to ask?