"You are failing us. But the young people are starting to understand your betrayal. The eyes of all future generations are upon you. And if you choose to fail us, I say: We will never forgive you."
- Greta Thunberg speech to the United Nations Climate Action Summit (https://www.npr.org/2019/09/23/763452863/transcript-greta-thunbergs-speech-at-the-u-n-climate-action-summit)
Sixteen-year-old Greta Thunberg took the UN's Climate Action Summit by storm last week, delivering a scathing speech that dared to tell truth to power. Thunberg, who identifies as a person with Asperger's Syndrome, inspired tens of thousands of youth (and their affiliated adults) to participate in the world Climate Strike on Friday, September 20, and she is a role model and inspiration to all in the neurodiverse community. A friend of mine who has a daughter with Asperger's bought her girl a T-shirt with the caption "Make America Greta Again."
Thunberg inspires me while at the same time bringing my fears about climate change to the forefront of my mind, an uncomfortable place for them to be. I first learned about climate change during my Environmental Studies program at San Jose State, where I went to get a second BA and a California teaching credential. That was twenty year ago, and it chills me to now experience the temperature rises and extreme weather events that were predicted in 1999 (actually long before). We have done nothing, really, to save our faltering planet for future generations, and I fear that young people will, in fact, never forgive us.
I agonized over the decision to have children twenty years ago and ultimately decided that the hope and purpose they inspire would be necessary for my positive interaction with the world. And still I feel torn about their futures - though their existence has been an unadulterated good to me, what kind of future lies before them when I am gone?
Thunberg is right - we must act to have the right to hope, we must push our local and national governments to move forward, we must change the bad actors in Washington and we must use our consumer power for good whenever possible. We must act, because everything hangs in the balance.