By: Reyshimar Arguelles
Greta Thunberg, an environmental activist from Sweden who hogged the headlines after making a trip from the UK to the US by boat, makes so much sense than your typical politician. She doesn’t have a constituency. We all know for sure she isn’t advocating for greater environmental protection on the goading of corporate entities.
She only wants to get her message across so that the adults in charge of humanity’s survival finally stop treating the environment as another vapid talking point.
At 16 years old, Thunberg has scolded politicians who should know better than to ignore the effects of a climate crisis. You couldn’t imagine someone as young as her to tell politicians that they’re not doing enough in making radical decisions on the environment. Her appearance at the US Congress was in itself a profound gesture against governments that treat environmental issues as part of “business as usual.”
While Thunberg certainly cultivated support online, she also met a flurry of criticism coming from social media eggheads. Much of the vitriol lobbed against her deals with the supposed fruitlessness of her advocacy. There are people doubting if her actions could bring about favorable long-term results. There are also those who dismiss her as another whiny and triggered SJW who should leave the planet’s fate to a few politicians.
If we look past the cynicism that’s thrown against Thunberg, we can sense the amount of shade she has dealt upon those who still think big business and ecological destruction have nothing to do with each other. It’s apparent that people aren’t ready to listen to the alarm bells signalling the downfall of humankind as we know it.
So long as we’re able to enjoy all the conveniences of modern living, the threat of climate change comes off as inconsequential. Sadly, the only way you can express any concern for the environment is when you give a sad react everytime you find a clip of a sea turtle eating from a waste pipe or images of wildfires slowly consuming the Amazon Rainforest.
What’s even sadder is that Thunberg is not the first person to show us the seriousness of the environmental crisis. The first eco movements had the same desire to enact change through direct political engagement. Protest actions have been launched for decades and environment activism has unmasked the effects of corporate excess which continue to eat up the planet’s natural resources in a never ending cycle of production and consumption.
Yet, these actions have failed to address the climate crisis. The lands and seas remain polluted and there is no end in sight to the wholesale destruction of ecosystems at the behest of the current economic order.
Exacerbating this situation is the fact that, despite overwhelming evidence proving mankind’s ability to alter the planet, we still haven’t come close to creating a panacea for our ecological problems.
This bleak picture should lead us into thinking that excess is not the real reason behind the destruction of the planet. It’s the system itself and the very people who maintain it. In the long run, it’s how we are able to craft rational and actionable policies that keep the next generation from inheriting a planet that’s been defiled beyond recognition.
Being one of many inheritors, Thunberg echoed the need for politicians to step up and decide, once and for all, whether the future is indeed worth fighting for.
But what’s disturbingly evident is that politicians are more concerned with the survival of their political careers than with the survival of their constituencies. Should we really point out that they will never have a career to speak of when the entire planet has been converted into a giant pressure cooker?
Thunberg did her part. But if scolding politicians won’t do any good, then we have no other recourse but to exact vengeance upon them and their benefactors.