Greta Thunberg, age 15, is a climate activist who addressed the U.N. plenary last month in Katowice, Poland, condemning global inaction in the face of catastrophic climate change.
Thunberg was brilliant. She speak for four minutes. You should watch it. She is the calmest, angriest child I have ever seen.
Her most compelling argument is this:
“You say you love your children, but you are stealing their future from under their feet.”
It’s a fine point. When 99% of scientists agree that climate change is manmade and you continue to deny climate change, you are staking out the position, in no uncertain terms, that your life as it’s constituted today is far more important than every single generation of human being who follows you, including the children I am teaching in my classroom today.
If you are a political leader of any stripe with children and you continue to deny climate change and pass legislation that helps to perpetuate the coal, oil, and gas industries at the expense of green technologies, there is an absolute and undeniable financial limit on your love for your children.
Donald Trump, for example, opposes wind power because… it’s actually hard to understand why.
He claims that turbines kill thousands of birds, but in truth, the average wind turbine kills about five birds a year.
He argues that wind turbines are ineffective because when the wind doesn’t blow, you have no power. This, of course, demonstrates a fundamental lack of understanding of the electrical grid and battery technology.
He claims that people living near wind turbines lose their minds because of the sound generated by the spinning blades, when in truth studies indicate that people living near turbines are rarely exposed to average sound levels beyond 45 decibels, which is akin to the hum of a refrigerator.
In truth, Trump thinks wind turbines are ugly and has fought against the building of them near his properties for more than a decade.
He also recently tweeted about wishing for a little climate change on an especially cold day on the east coast because he doesn’t take the issue seriously and would prefer to dog-whistle his denial to his base.
Trump is willing to sacrifice his grandchildren’s future for personal preference, profits, and political gain. He’s no different than any politician who denies manmade climate change.
These are men and women who care more about their power, wealth, and lifestyle than the lives and wellbeing of their children and grandchildren.
Greta Thunberg is right. We are stealing her future through inaction. We are altering the habitability of our planet for ages to come.
She’s right to be angry. We should all be.