(This piece is in follow up to an earlier published ‘Rant’ titled “Change This Climate Now!”. We suggest you read that here first. High-five if you have already!)
“The trouble is, you think you have time.”
There aren’t many things as incongruous in the world as the emblem of serenity – The Buddha – rattling our cages with words like that.
A warning. A wake up call. An agitated wave of the arms so you look up and notice and spring out of bed and leap into action. Little Greta’s conjured it all up. The realization and the call to arms. Another incongruity: For a child to get what most grown-ups haven’t. Day after day, as the planet suffers the blows we give it, she tries to hold up a shield, substantiating her own words: “No One is Too Small to Make a Difference”.
Greta’s speeches and Buddha’s discourses have much in common:
An articulation that’s as serene as it is passionate.
It is no surprise then that Greta’s earned herself a Nobel Peace Prize nomination. For her relentless pursuit to return the planet to an ecological equilibrium – a state of harmony.
The Buddha led a life of abstinence that brought him enlightenment.
Greta has Asperger’s. It’s a gift which has enabled her to see the climate crisis ‘in black and white’. There are no grey areas when it comes to survival. Either we go on as a civilisation or we don’t.
If only we were as enlightened, the climate wouldn’t have come to be in a crisis at all.
But it has. And it is.
We’ve said it before and we’re saying it again, “we need to act as we would in a crisis; as if our house is on fire. Because it is.”
She’s appealing to the media; to newspapers, magazines, websites, journals and other publications who still don’t write about and report on climate change to let everyone know how serious the situation is and how little is actually being done to amend it. SHOUT! doesn’t possess the placidity of The Buddha or the grit of Greta to go on strike. But we can address her plea and SHOUT! with her, in clear language, because we don’t want to be one of those that have failed to try and therefore, create broad public awareness around a disaster of unspoken sufferings for enormous amounts of people and the planet.
Global warming, the emissions, the pollution – it’s an existential threat. If the emissions have to stop, then we must stop them. But we’re not. Or we’re choosing not to. Our emissions aren’t reducing. In fact, they’re increasing. We’re knowingly causing the sixth mass extinction.
It’s up to us.
We can create transformational action that will safeguard the living conditions of future generations.
Or we can continue with our business as usual. And fail ourselves, our planet, our civilization, our home.
And as if we didn’t have enough pressures in the present, it gives us immense pain to break it to you that the future of all the coming generations rests on our shoulders. Those that are still children or the ones that will soon be born. They can’t change what we do now once they’re old enough to do something about it. Their lives really are in our hands. Their futures are.
Look, we can’t look the other way because we’re frightened of change. Change that can prevent catastrophic climate change.
Be frightened of the catastrophic climate change instead.
It’s uncomfortable. It might be unprofitable even. But our biosphere knows no economics. Growing, as we ravage it, is no growth at all. The bigger your carbon footprint, the bigger your moral duty.
For the sake of a girl and her friends who have stopped going to school because they don’t see the point in studying for a future that is not safe; a future that may not exist.
For the sake of priceless values to not be sacrificed for unscrupulous economic gains.
For the sake of life and this beautiful blue and (not so) green, living planet (that can get back its erstwhile colour).
For the sake of your children and grandchildren.
To stand on the right side of history.
To go on as a civilization.
Pledge to reduce your emissions of greenhouse gases.
And indeed, reduce them.
We can still fix this. Then again, just like one enlightened soul said centuries ago and another one says, imploringly and troubled today, “We’re running out of time!”
Despair will destroy our children. Apathy, our planet.
SOS. Or the game’s over.