Greta Thunberg is an unlikely climate warrier. Barely a teenager, she is shy and unassuming. Nonetheless, she now has become a symbol to the rest of us of what one person can do to make a difference. Yet that difference is also unlikely unless we decide to also become climate warriors. Why has it come to this desperate a situation that our children are acting more like an adult than us adults?
We live in a time not entirely dissimilar to when tribalism first harnesed the separation between us and them. When life gender roles and expectations were embedded in our children. Both a a tribe and a modern tribe need to reply upon alliances and predictable crop yields to survive and thrive. Our modern technology has evolved but human have not. We are the same basic animal that is still motivated by primal fears and irrational thoughts.
Our species, in the past, has formed a world wide alliance when threatened by unabated devastation the Smallpox, one of the world’s most feared diseases until it was eradicated by a collaborative global vaccination programme. Yet the idea of such a collaboration today is challenged by climate deniers and the religious who dismiss science as much as others dismiss the mythology surrounding religion.
Today, in our deeply divided world, the need to unify as a species is once again dire. Our leaders do not lead, our masses do unify to demand change and our gods stand idle as the world gasps. It is easy to do nothing yet we know that we are able, as a species, to take collective actions in order to overcome common threats to our species. So why don’t we take action?
Some would say that it is all a hoax or that science is misguided but others might say we have fallen asleep at the wheel and the time for action has been squandered.
What is clear is that we are plagued by inaction at a critical point in the survival of our species. At this crossroad in our species history being asleep ‘at the wheel’ will not only impact human and other organisms but also what was once our life-sustaining garden. Inaction will continue exasperate a desperate situation. The greed and indifference of our species has unleashed destabilized forces and like a mythical genie, cannot be put back into the proverbial bottle.
Longer lasting and more intense storms and floods will ruin crops and shift populations but also devastate coastal, low-lying regions. Drought will also ruin crops and shift populations and create ideal conditions for wild fires. The spread of invasive species and disease will challenge existing health systems and further impact biodiversity.
Even our food will be impacted. Ocean acidification and pollution is impacting sea life and our dependence on the ocean as a food source. Our once rich animal and plant diversity has already been severely impacted by the demands of an unsustainable population. As pollution and land shortages will continue to impact the type of nature of our food as we change our food sources and modify our food to accommodate more people and less fertile land.
We can all be warriors if and when we are awakened by the futility and meaninglessness of life.
We will not be the first to wonder, nor likely the last, if this life is all that there is. Our obsessions and distractions have defined many of our lives. ‘Bread and Circuses’ is a well known phenomena used to control the masses. There are many more that indoctrinate and sedate us from childhood to adulthood.
The surprising part is not that we are followers but that we are willing to follow the pied piper of the hour off the cliff simply because he/she sings a predictably compelling but, ultimately self-serving tune. We never awaken from its spell nor do we seek other paths in life. We are, after all is said and plunged, strictly followers.
We have the ability to use technology and science to create a brave new world. But technology is not our saviour. It is not even our friend. Every new invention can and likely will be weaponized against others or us. A few control the masses and likely will always control the masses as long as we willingly stay divided and marginalized.
Is this all there is to life?
We will not be the first to wonder, nor the last, if this life is all that there is. We have the ability to use technology and science to create a brave new world but many fear such a world will suffer from the same human flaws that have unleashed the destructive forces of today. Does planetary travel really make sense when we cannot live in balance on Earth?
As social animals there is meaning for some in creating offsprings. Others find meaning through a more solitary life. Whatever works often works best if there are social rewards since we all have social drives and values. Yet as individuals we can also feel the meaning of life reduced to breeding and work in which even a full social life lacks individual fulfillment and actualization. This is likely why the question of whether this is all there is will serve as a wake up call for many.
If you step outside of our social norms or are socially marginalized through social disconnects such as divorce and retirement or if you travel authentically or experiencing, truly experiencing a higher spiritual power or some life-altering event.
For me it was becoming a participant in a mind-altering psychedelic experience. I saw my life in a different context, one that is defined by being faithful to my true-self. The self that was buried by my self-imposed ego.
I now wonder if the world can be united if we all realizing our true-selves or, at least, placing our ego gratification in lower esteem
My ego was so dominate that only my recent psychedelic experience has fully released my dormant wakefulness. It has led me to now believe that the meaning of our lives is to become true to our true-selves, not just a sleep-walking participants.
My ego gratification is less of a compulsion and I am actively de-cluttering my world of stuff. It will not only reduce my carbon footprint but also allow me more time to travel inward.
The pull of Western industrial society consumerism is often undeniable but reframing my values has made be a much better consumer. In fact, I am now leaning strongly towards the environmental virtues of Veganism as playing a more active role as a guardian of the land and life in my purview.
Unike Greta, I’m too old, too cynical to be the soap-box kind.
I’m part of the problem. Jaded by a life of failed efforts to change the course of today’s madness, I’ve decided to sit on the sidelines. I know that I will not experience the worst and have chosen my battles wisely. Yet I can’t stay silent knowing my children and grand children will inherit this mess. If others can then that is on them.
I know that my efforts won’t make a global difference. I know that a blog with 11 followers won’t change the course of our fate today. I know that an article by CNN will be dismissed by many readers who have already decided climate change is a hoax. It is a sad truth but my life experiences have extinguished the hope I once held in my heart for a better world.
I have seen the power of wealth and power. Special interests, Corporate interests, Military interests, Religious interests all hold sway within our democracies, much like they do in totalitarian states. I have even been disappointed by the reluctance of big oil to embrace a green strategy for the inevitable.
I truly hope that Greta inspires change.
I view the lacklustre response to Greta by the US congress as yet another example of passion speaking to arrogant self-interests of Politicians who are only too aware of the next election and their limited shelf-life. I wish her well. I wish all of us well. Mostly I wish other animal organisms well as they are the innocents, they are the true victims. For we, with our silence and compliance, are all to blame for today’s mess.
I truly hope our world takes action, not just today but forever. We desperately need a sea change in our values and our destructive, myopic ways. We need visionary leadership capable of profound actions today, even if it comes from our children.
It is after all, our children who will inherit our mess and an out-of-control world. It is our children whose future has been stolen by our actions and inactions. We should be deeply ashamed but there is no time left for acrimony or partisan politics. Now is the time to make profound changes in our way forward as a species. We need to express our love for each other as the brothers and sisters we are and to embrace our true-selves as the highest form of meaning in each of our lives.