How can we adults build on that passion? We can honor her courage and leadership by urgently promoting radical, systemic change in the way we live.
The Problem With Greta Thunberg's Climate Activism
Her radical approach is at odds with democracy.
First of all, I resent the author being critical of Greta, but I appreciate the fact that his observations helped to open my eyes relative to how we can build on Greta's passion to achieve the global, systemic changes we need.
Greta speaking at World Economic Forum in Davos
In his piece,
stated that Greta's politics rest on two things.
Simplification and sowing panic.
He went on to describe how she provides what people want, saying:
People have had enough of perspective. They want single-minded devotion to the task at hand.
Later in the piece, he addresses the elephant in the room that I have been writing about for eleven months:
What kind of civilization do we want, and at what level of technological complexity? On a planet of eight billion people, it is not just destination weddings that require considerable expenditure of energy.
So does food. So does clean drinking water. So does communication.
Precisely. We will never achieve harmony with nature by simply urging people to recycle more of their waste, buy greener products, install solar panels on their rooftops, drive electric cars, fly less frequently on airplanes, eat less meat and so forth.
In truth, even if everyone in the world followed all those rules and much more, it would not be nearly enough. That's because our overall "system" of living must be changed, and individuals cannot change systems.
As for starting over, we as
or activist groups like Extinction Rebellion, can demand that a new, totally sustainable, global lifestyle
be urgently developed, tested and
deployed. And in order to do that, we must have a
of that sustainable way of life that can be easily understood and promoted:
A simple visual of how a sustainable civilization might look and how a truly sustainable global economy might work
I believe that most reasonable people intuitively know that just tweaking our existing way of life is not going to deliver sustainability, particularly when
two huge elephants in the room are hardly ever mentioned: population control and the need for a global economy that puts nature first.
It is clear that we need a simple visual for how we can address all of our grossly unsustainable habits at the same time.
As Dr. W. Edwards Deming may have concluded, we've got to optimize the complete Earth system, particularly the most disruptive part of that system - human civilization.
The author of last week's NY Times piece hit the nail on the head when describing the problem, but he failed miserably when it comes to helping young Greta Thunberg leverage her passion to jolt the adults of the world into action. And this is what I've got to say about that:
It's not nice to criticize Greta!
Instead of criticizing her approach, he should praise the brilliance of her vision, her leadership and the steadfastness of her resolve to never give up.
Instead, he closes with this depressing paragraph:
Democracy often calls for waiting and seeing. Patience may be democracy's cardinal virtue. Climate change is a serious issue. But to say, "We can't wait," is to invite a problem just as grave.
In my opinion, Greta has done an incredible job of contributing to a growing sense of urgency throughout the world. Now, all we need are simple visuals that make it easy for everyone to grasp the gravity of a seriously flawed way of life that will never satisfy Mother Nature.
Greta has come a long way in less than a year.
Here are six visuals, or conceptual designs, that ordinary people need in order to grasp the "big picture" of drastic action that is urgently needed:
- They need a visual for illustrating how we can eliminate over 80% of all road vehicles instead of just driving more and more electric cars.
In 2014, GreenCarReports.com reported that there were 1.2 billion motor vehicles on the world's roads, and like airline traffic, that number is expected to double by 2040. Speaking of which...
- They need a visual for illustrating how we can eliminate most air travel without eliminating travel itself, whether for business or pleasure.
- They need a visual for illustrating how an economy might work that answers first to the biosystem instead of one that is based on maximizing the consumption of STUFF in a world of finite resources.
- They need a visual for illustrating how a new form of government could reward those who consume less stuff, thereby providing an essential foundation for changing the way we think about associating success with the accumulation of possessions.
- They need a visual for illustrating how we can easily feed the world on a fraction of the land now being used - while shifting to a nutritional plan that could eliminate the need for most healthcare spending.
- They need a visual for illustrating how we can peacefully bring our global population down to a sustainable level - a far cry from our current practice of adding a net 230,000 new people on our planet every single day.
Finally, they need a visual for how all of the above can be accomplished in a completely re-designed lifestyle model that will feature a comfortable way of living without the excesses associated with the shortsighted, unsustainable economics of today.
Imagine how easy it would be to live sustainability if we lived in a world where ONLY green lifestyle options existed.
A picture is worth a thousand words
We must find a way to totally transform our way of living into a sustainable model - while also promoting an enriched lifestyle for all - with a genuine appreciation for the
arts, science, higher education, fine dining, meaningful careers, entertainment, sports & the pursuit of happiness.
It is now August of 2019 and I have been writing about that collective visual
for eleven months. With Greta's help, we can generate the global traction that this visual needs and deserves.
The Bottom Line. Some say that my audacious vision for GRATOLA is naive thinking, while others tell me that it is the most workable sounding plan they have heard. Below is an inspirational note from one of my favorites:
The most credible authority who thinks GRATOLA is a workable plan is this renowned scientist, who is arguably the world's leading authority on the relationship between climate change and sea ice in both the Arctic and Antarctic regions. In December of 2018, he sent me these highly encouraging words:
Incidentally, I think your "green region" approach
in your latest blog
is one of the most perceptive analyses of our present situation, and the way out, that I have seen.