Greta Thunberg urges leaders to take action on climate change

By MICHAEL CAPRIO
On September 30, 2019

Photo courtesy of European Parliament, Flickr

Greta Thunberg has made a big splash in the news after her emotional, impactful speech at the United Nations on Sept. 24. Thunberg did not shy away, despite being a young woman in front of a multitude of world leaders. In her speech, she addressed how those in power are not doing enough.

An emotional Thunberg chastised the leaders asking, “How dare you?” and said that if they continue to do nothing while knowing all the effects of climate change, they are evil. Those are bold words coming from any human, and especially more impactful when it’s coming from a 16-year-old. Her statements have sparked conversation and many are wondering what to make of her comments. 

Many of the points she made were illuminating. It is no secret to the average person in the world that the people in charge don’t care about climate change. It's especially alarming when the Amazon rainforest, which is responsible for 20 percent of the world's oxygen, is burning at a record rate because people are doing it voluntarily.

We are willing to burn one of our most valuable ecosystems for more land. President Trump has denied climate change on multiple occasions despite all the obvious signs that were thrown right in his face. When world leaders blatantly ignore the facts, they continue to add to the problem, which is a major concern moving forward. 

It is a tough reality to accept that humans are reliant on valuable, finite resources. We continuously burn through them for our own selfish needs. It is a life-changing realization to accept that our lifestyles are destroying our own planet.

Especially for the people in power, this would mean that their luxurious lifestyle would have to take a back seat. Perhaps that’s why people are so hesitant to admit it is a problem. Or, it is too scary for some people to wrap their head around that they choose to believe "ignorance is bliss."

Thunberg has caused outrage on the internet because of the attention she commands on the issue. People have criticized her for being a teenager who comes from tremendous fortune and privilege. 

While many of the statements Thunberg makes are valid, some of her arguments didn’t fit the bill. Thunberg was criticized for seeming too dramatic as she predicted impending doom within the near future if action isn’t taken. It seemed a little scripted as she kept looking down at her paper.

People speculated that her parents are using their child as a weapon to promote their agenda. It comes off as a bit harsh, but it's not out of the realm of possibility. Or maybe she was just using big key words to grab our attention since we have been blatantly ignoring the topic.

Another one of her comments that was a bit overstated was her claiming to lose her childhood to climate change. Sweden accounts for less than 0.2 percent of all global emissions according to their government website, so it would be interesting to see where Thunberg receives her sources. 

It is important to be a critical listener with whoever is speaking, even if they are making points that are scientifically backed, it would good to know more details concerning her claims. However, this can’t overshadow the bigger picture here, which it has for a lot of people out there. 

Regardless of how you feel about what Thunberg said, we cannot deny the change that is happening to our climate. It is best to act now before it’s too late, and if it takes a teenager to wake us up, then so be it. Maybe it won’t ruin our lives, but it will ruin the lives of future generations if we don’t act. 

 

mcaprio1@ramapo.edu

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