“What happens next? The year 2078, I will celebrate my 75th birthday. If I have children or grandchildren, maybe they will spend that day with me. Maybe they will ask me about you, the people who were around, back in 2018. Maybe they will ask why you didn’t do anything while there still was time to act. What we do or don’t do right now will affect my entire life and the lives of my children and grandchildren. What we do or don’t do right now, me and my generation can’t undo in the future.”
Greta Thunberg spoke these words on 24th November 2018, when she was just a fifteen-year-old girl, speaking at TEDxStockholm. Her words offer a glance at a bleak future, which is starting to look real with every passing second. Climate change is no longer an illusion. The most recent United Nations ((UN) reports on global climate substantiates this notion.
For instance, the report by the UN Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states that “Human activities are estimated to have caused approximately 1.0°C of global warming above pre-industrial levels, with a likely range of 0.8°C to 1.2°C. Global warming is likely to reach 1.5°C between 2030 and 2052 if it continues to increase at the current rate.” This means that the global climate systems are on the brink of a tipping point, a threshold, if surpassed, would lead to unimaginable repercussions.
- What we do or don’t do right now, me and my generation can’t undo in the future
- Ecosystems are changing, where numerous species face the risk of extinction every day
- it is time to wake up from our respective cocoons and see the dangers we are to encounter in the future
Accordingly, we no longer have time to contemplate and debate amongst ourselves. As The Guardian reported on 08th October 2018, “We have 12 years to limit climate change catastrophe, warns UN: Urgent changes needed to cut risk of extreme heat, drought, floods and poverty, says IPCC”. These changes are already visible with the changing climatic patterns such as extreme heat, hurricanes, wildfires and unpredicted floods which caused death and displacement to millions of people all over the world. Ecosystems are changing, where numerous species face the risk of extinction every day. If the tipping points of climate are exceeded, these risks will reach unprecedented levels, which might cause the next mass extinction according to Greta Thunberg, who noted: “So when school started in August of this year, I decided that this was enough. I set myself down on the ground outside the Swedish parliament. I school-striked for the climate. Some people say that I should be in school instead. Some people say that I should study to become a climate scientist so that I can “solve the climate crisis.” But the climate crisis has already been solved. We already have all the facts and solutions. All we have to do is to wake up and change. And why should I be studying for a future that soon will be no more when no one is doing anything whatsoever to save that future? And what is the point of learning facts in the school system when the most important facts given by the finest science of that same school system clearly mean nothing to our politicians and our society.”
These are very powerful statements. Since the time she got to know about drastic climate change, she wanted to take counter-actions. When she started this ‘School Strike for Climate’ on every Friday, she was alone and had no audience. Yet, she did what she could, for her convictions and inspired many others as well. Her actions have gained significant recognition from the international community, where students from all over the world joined her protest in solidarity. Moreover, her actions prompted the Norwegian government to nominate Greta Thunberg for the Nobel Peace Prize, making her the youngest person to be nominated for the honour. This proves that ideas are the most powerful tools of change, where a single opinion can influence an entire world.
Urgent changes needed to cut risk of extreme heat, drought, floods and poverty, says IPCC”. These changes are already visible with the changing climatic patterns such as extreme heat, hurricanes, wildfires and unpredicted floods which caused death and displacement to millions of people all over the world. Ecosystems are changing, where numerous species face the risk of extinction every day
Most of us have also learnt about climate change at school or encountered this issue in different forms though mass media. However, it was always an issue that we chose to forget and overlook by living our lives in relative ignorance. Now, it is time to wake up from our respective cocoons and see the dangers we are to encounter in the future. Inaction and ignorance against climate change and not taking proper measures to change our lifestyles will be a crime against the future generations of the world.
Greta Thunberg has exemplified that one person’s actions matter. She was young and unknown, yet become a force who fights for the future of everyone in the world. Her actions have made us all aware of the responsibilities we should shoulder, for the sake of our own futures. Even though we choose not to engage in any public forms of expressing dissent, each of us can take personal actions to reduce our own carbon footprints; by reducing the use of polythene, using public transport, installing solar panels in our homes and by being aware of the activities that increase carbon emissions. It is important to realize that every single action matters in the journey upstream, swimming against the currents, away from a bleak future that awaits to engulf us, if we give up and choose to ignore our individual responsibilities.