There has to be thousands more Greta Thunberg‘s out there in the world.
I am what some of my friends and family call “curmudgeonly’. I am a white male born in 1943 during World War ll. I don’t know what my generation is called; a Pre-boomer I suppose. When I was born, there were no televisions, no portable radios, no supermarkets, no fast food outlets, no self serve gas stations, no “a hell of a lot of things”, and a phone was just a phone and there was a three-month wait to get one installed. In many regards, the world was a better place.
My father worked and my mother stayed at home and cared for five kids. There was no such word as recycling but just about everything we used was recycled. We grew most of our own vegetables and milk was delivered daily to the front door in glass bottles. My siblings and I walked to school, about one mile each way until our parents could afford to buy us bikes. These were second hand like just about everything we owned.
I don’t remember much about the war, being only three years of age when it ended. I have some snatches of post-war memories including ration books and one of my uncles being celebrated returning home after two years in a prisoner of war camp in Poland.
Growing up, there was never any talk of pollution, the environment, conservation, ecosystems, biomes, biomass, global changes or greenhouse gases to coin a few of the phrases that are commonplace words today. My siblings, my cousins, and my friends; we lived in a green world of unspoiled forests and fields, sandy beaches, and clean rivers that we just took for granted and assumed would go on forever. Everyone lived in a house. Everyone had a garden with fruit trees and chickens. Most people owned one car. We used to dig for and eat shellfish from city beaches. My father took us fishing and we would catch all we needed in a couple of hours. Even though we lived in a suburb of a city, we ate plenty of rabbit, deer, and wild pig courtesy of my dad and uncle’s hunting skills.
There were no plastic toys – in fact, we had no plastic anything when I was a kid. I think the first use of plastic was the bristles in our toothbrushes. Most products came in cardboard boxes, paper bags, and sacks.
In 75 short years, things have changed oh so much. We have gone from a war of countries fighting countries (World War II) to a war against our own excesses; a war that must be fought in the trenches and will be acrimonious and brutal if we are to save the human species from itself. Forget the planet. The planet will do really well without us. It’s us we have to save from the enemies of the human race. Following is a shortlist:
Industrial complexes emitting planet-killing gases.
Out of control viruses.
The fossil fuel industry.
Stupid, short-sighted, bullying, narcissistic, and dimwitted world leaders.
Greedy and selfish corporate raiders.
Evil dictators ( I won’t make a list. Just check out this website)
Unbridled world tourism, despoiling the oceans and atmosphere.
Self-interest and puerile bloody-mindedness.
The ignorant and the stupid and ill-informed.
I could go on but I think you get my drift. The world needs hundreds of thousands more Greta Thunberg’s; young people who can use the power of social media to rally their peers in every country in the world. I fully agree with her message and her anger. She has a right to be angry. I am angry too. I have two small grandchildren. What will their world be like in twenty years? The world also needs more women leaders. Men have been making a hash of it far too long.
On a closing note, by July 2019, humans had used up 175% of the earth’s sources for the year. This is just not sustainable. Yet, every country in the world promotes growth, growth, growth. If we continue to live as we are, I shudder to think what the world will be like for my grandkids.