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Greta the Great – Greta Thunberg Leads the Way on Climate Change

Greta Thunberg started out all alone, but she’s not alone anymore. In August 2018 the Swedish teenager stood alone outside her country’s parliament with her “Skolstrejk For Klimatet” (School Strike for Climate) poster, and she got some attention from fellow teenagers and eventually adults as well. Now she has lit a torch and millions of people around the world are ready to follow her.

As the father of kids who are also scared about the future of our planet and are inspired by Greta, I have listened to this young lady speak, and she has a wisdom far beyond her years. There is something about her demeanor and her direct approach that shows that she is serious about this and that no one should mess with her. It is particularly satisfying to see her speaking to the stuffed shirts in the U.S. Congress, and basically she is telling them off, in as polite a way as a possible. She told them, “Don’t invite us here to just tell us how inspiring we are without actually doing anything about it.” Though just 16 years old, it seemed in some ways that she was the only adult in the room.

Yesterday she spoke to a huge crowd in New York City’s Battery Park. The people in attendance kept shouting her name and, rather than bask in the glory of the moment, she spoke frankly to all. She said, “Our house is on fire; we will not just stand aside and watch.” Her words were met with cheers and thunderous applause.

Greta came to America in an unconventional way as well – on a sailboat – and has since taken the place by storm. They say looks are deceiving, and she seems unimposing and quiet at first, but once she begins speaking, she is like a lion roaring in the jungle forcing people to notice her.

It’s no surprise that my children and so many other kids are impressed with her and take notice of how she is making a difference. She is the voice of their generation, and she is saying honestly that adults have screwed this planet up for long enough. If adults won’t do anything, we will take the lead and get things done.

It is estimated that about 4 million people in 163 countries across the planet participated in yesterday’s rallies. So, what started as one young girl standing in front of an imposing parliament building has morphed into a worldwide phenomenon inspired by Greta. As she said at Battery Park yesterday, “This is what people power looks like.”

Now, there are those who are downplaying yesterday as nothing more than a stunt, and I’ve heard people saying, “She is just a kid!” since she came to New York on the boat. But they are missing the point – she is a kid, and she has the right to feel in danger and to worry about her future and the future of millions of other kids being in danger as well. Greta has given a voice to the voiceless; she has given a face to the invisible.

I remember being a kid during the Cold War and fearing a nuclear attack. My parents told me not to worry because they didn’t think it would ever happen, and in school we were told to hide under our desks during an attack. The black and yellow Fallout Shelter signs on my school walls did nothing to assuage my fears. I was scared – and many other kids were too – but adults just went about their business, so I understand how Greta and my kids and many other kids feel all too well.

All these years later, it is time that we adults take notice and do something, because Greta Thunberg is not going away, nor are the millions of people she has encouraged to speak out and call for change. Children are going to inherit this planet and they have a right to want it to be habitable and safe.

Greta will address the UN next week, and this will no doubt gain her more fans as she carries that torch onto the world stage. She has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, and this forthcoming speech before the leaders of the world just might make her more than a contender for that honor. 

As she ended her speech yesterday, Greta told the crowd, “This is only the beginning. Change is coming whether they like it or not,” and when I heard those words I couldn’t help but to believe her.

About Victor Lana

Victor Lana's stories, articles, and poems have been published in literary magazines and online. His books 'A Death in Prague' (2002), 'Move' (2003), 'The Savage Quiet September Sun: A Collection of 9/11 Stories' (2005), and 'Like a Passing Shadow' (2009) are available in print, online, and as e-books. His latest books 'Heartbeat and Other Poems,' 'If the Fates Allow: New York Christmas Stories,' 'Garden of Ghosts,' and 'Flashes in the Pan' are available exclusively on Amazon. After winning the National Arts Club Award for Poetry while attending Queens College, he concentrated on writing mostly fiction and non-fiction prose until the recent publication of his new book of poetry, 'Heartbeat and Other Poems' (now available on Amazon). He has worked as a faculty advisor to school literary magazines and enjoys the creative process as a writer, editor, and collaborator. He has been with 'Blogcritics Magazine' since July 2005 and has written many articles on a variety of topics; previously co-head sports editor, he now is a Culture and Society and Flash Ficition editor. Having traveled extensively, Victor has visited six continents and intends to get to Antarctica someday where he figures a few ideas for new stories await him.

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2 comments

  1. Dr Joseph S Maresca

    A part of climate equilibrium and a tendency toward cooling will come from new technologies like solar, nuclear fusion, ocean wave and wind power.Another component will be the widespread use of “Reflective Technologies” in strategic places like the base of Mount Everest. A lot of work must be done on thermodynamics to modulate temperatures in favor of earth cooling. This whole process advances by getting the third world, Russia, China and the USA to adopt cleaner energy for use by the public, the private sector and government.Luckily, Siberia is still chillingly cold at -88 in January,2018. So, there’s still hope. {https://www.usatoday.com/story/weather/2018/01/17/oymyakon-yakutia-siberia-russia-extreme-cold-temperatures/1039929001/}