Extract from Chapter 21
“As I write this, [I Ran the World] Greta Thunberg who started a school strike for climate change outside the Swedish Parliament building, is now regarded across the world as a model of determination, inspiration and positive action.
National presidents and corporate executives are lining up to be criticised by her, face-to-face. Her skolstrejk för klimatet (school strike for climate) banner has now been translated into dozens of languages.
I like this girl.
The teenager’s lone protest has developed via social media into a powerful global movement challenging politicians to act.
She wants to change the world.
In 1992 at the UN Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Severn Cullis-Suzuki, who was only 12 at the time, demanded the same of policymakers:
“Adults you must change your ways.”
The environmental activist was called ‘the girl who silenced the world for five minutes’.
Severn has since spoken around the world about environmental issues urging listeners to define their values, act with the future in mind and take individual responsibility.
Like Greta, her message was angry, powerful and passionate, delivered at a time before social media.
Do you remember her?
I doubt it.
Greta wants policymakers to listen to the science and act as if their house is on fire.
Her argument has divided opinion.
Maybe because, to truly beat climate change we must all try to put out the fire.
We live in the same house for fuck’s sake!
It has been argued that Greta is part of a generation that wants a TV in every room, that spends all day and night on electronic devices, who don’t walk or ride bikes to school but prefer a bus or private car. That she is part of a generation of consumers who like trendy things, foreign holidays, the latest smart phones, gadgets and fast food made from beef, processed foods and wrapped in plastic or polystyrene containers.
Her generation is also part of the problem.
Rallying global support for any cause is an incredible task and we must not forget, Greta is only 16.
Ask the scientists who have been trying to engage with us on climate change for years.
Ask me how difficult it was more than 30 years ago.
But now engaged, the call-to-action should not be to simply blame someone else for not listening to the science.
This is an opportunity of a lifetime.
Don’t waste it.
Don’t run the risk of disenfranchising as many people as you engage with organisations like Extinction Rebellion.
Instead, use your constituency of compassion wisely.
Explain to your supporters why we are all part of the problem and empower everyone to become part of the solution.
Of course force our governments and corporations to do their duty, but don’t hide behind them.
Governments are there because we elected them.
Companies exist because we buy their products.
Show all your supporters how just a few changes by every man woman and child, can help put out the fire.
All of us united, affecting the world in which we live.
Get a message to the millions with whom you now engage – we all need to listen to the science – we are all part of the problem. We all need to change.
So, here’s an idea…