Categories: Op-Ed

In defence of Greta

Insights on the campaign of a 16-year-old climate activist, as told by a 16-year-old

At this point, my future doesn’t exist. The oceans are rising, the forests are burning, and the air is toxifying. Many point to collective individual carbon spending, but that’s not the entire story, is it? 

Inequality plays quite the part.

The Indigenous tribes of Louisiana who are losing their sacred lands are not the ones pumping out the earth-warming gases that cause sea level rise. What the climate crisis highlights is a deeper problem — the wealth disparity between the filthy rich and the middle and working classes. It’s not us who take 250 or more flights around the world every year or own 23 gas-guzzling vehicles in our garage. It’s rich CEOs who are enabled to such pollution through their wealth. 

There’s madness to their method — because they just don’t care. Most of them won’t be around for Earth to have desert oceans and air that can’t be breathed. They may have experienced hardship, sure. But the Earth itself becoming inhospitable is a bigger and more divisive problem. 

Instead of fighting over oil, it will be water. A conflict not born of greed, but of necessity. This divide is already evident, because our water, our land, our power is all privately owned. 

By who? 

Rich dudes. 

But they have no sense of urgency. It’s because — for these people — a safe environment is the only one they’ve known. We can see through the data that scientists have presented that the Earth will most definitely become less habitable for humans to live on.

“Nobody explained to Greta that the modern world is complicated and complex, and it changes fast. Has anyone explained the cost of it?” Russian president Vladimir Putin said at an energy conference in Moscow in early October. 

But who cares about the cost? There are two ways the cost of climate change can be paid. It can be by your money being put towards climate change mitigation, or with the lives of the children of the future. 

I am a young lad who hopes to one day get married, have kids and have a family, and I am very troubled by the fact this hope — which wouldn’t have been questioned 50 years ago — is very much in danger. Don’t we deserve to have the same opportunity to live our lives in peace, and to ensure our children can grow up in a world with oxygen and clean water? 

When I am 30, the fat cat geezers of the oil corporations will most likely be dead. Whether anyone wants it or not, the generation of the children I bear will  dance at their funerals and spit on their graves. 

“The bad men who poisoned our planet,” they’d say. 

But Putin is right, the world changes fast, and it is currently changing in terms of temperature, ice mass, animal populations and oil reserves.

Forget your money, or you will never be forgotten. We will be watching you. We’ll all be watching you.

For those who are confused about why we protest — it’s simple. We don’t have a choice, really. Our very livelihood, our future, our humanity is being stripped away right in front of our eyes. We are being trapped on a planet that doesn’t welcome us anymore. 

Why do we fight for a beautiful world? A favourite children’s story of mine comes to mind. 

“UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot,  nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” 

— Dr. Seuss


We are the Lorax, and we’re speaking for the trees. We will be who we are and say what we feel because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind. 

So listen up if you please. 

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