I have always preferred the company of children in my life. They speak the truth. They are present and awake to life in a way that seems to slip away as we become adults. Somewhere around the time when we become conscious of being seen, we lose the freedom to see what is actually happening around us. We become more concerned with how we are seen, especially in these days of social media obsessions. Instead of the gentle shift of attention, teens now suffer from an endless fishbowl complex. The anxiety of how we are seen eliminates the ability to witness self or the world around us.
It is no wonder then that the new face of leadership would come from the voice of a girl who – thanks to her unique mind – has retained her pure and untainted ability to see the crisis of the world in which she is growing up. Rightly she is horrified. And asks the obvious questions that anyone who is purely seeing would ask: “How is this global environmental crisis not registering?” “Why is this not the only headline we are reading?”“How dare we continue on with our fantasy of economic growth, leading the destruction deliberately?”
Greta Thunberg is bold. Thanks to what she terms her “super power” of not being distracted by the noise and meanness of the haters, she stays on message – no matter who she is talking to. Her demeanor is calm and fierce. The truth resonates in her glare. She has no need to smile and no desire to be liked. She demands only that we save this planet and change our lifestyle to prevent the ongoing increase of fossil fuels.
Greta’s clarity as a climate activist began by winning an essay contest. Then she began school strikes in her native Sweden. Since then, she has spoken at many government hearings, at the United Nations, and has inspired climate marches and school walkouts across the globe. We are running out of time, just ask any kid you know. They will tell you. The world we are leaving them will soon become unmanageable, uninhabitable when they become grownups. What we refuse to act on will not be repaired in their lifetime.
But instead of listening, the grownups are acting like the kids we never liked on the playground. These kids, now manning Fox News and the highest levels of government, are still the bullies and unwilling to look at the reality of change even while it is chasing them with hurricane winds. Calling names and slandering disabilities is their most potent defense.
In truth, we all need some of Greta’s courage and super powers of witnessing the self-inflicted destruction we are wreaking on our beautiful planet. It is shameful how the need for real action has become lost in political rhetoric. If Greta’s voice and influence has demonstrated anything it is that there are no sides to take in climate activism. There is only the recognition of the canary that sings in the coal mine, clear and strong.
When we will be grateful for the messenger who knows what she is singing for?