Deep Dive #3: Greta Thunberg Shouldn't Be The Adult In The Room
Author's Note: This post is late, I know. I'm working on being more consistent with both my personal and professional writing (and other content creation). I've realized that's my main bottleneck in advancing further in my goals. It's one of my top priorities now.
This post is a sequel (Part 2) on the previous Deep Dive, Thoughts On "Growing Up."
When it comes to climate change, it's frequently said that the scope of our proposed solutions do not match the magnitude of the problems we face. The IPCC has warned that even our worst-case projections of temperature increase do not adequately depict the calamity we face if we don't make complete overhauls to our society.
The severity of the problems with face stemming from climate change would suggest the adults are working diligently to come up with solutions that will adequately address the perils we face.
Nope. No action but maintaining the status quo. Move along here children, nothing to see here.
Except Greta Thunberg isn't accepting the current state of affairs. At the ripe old age of sixteen, Thunberg is defined as a "Swedish environmental activist on climate change whose campaigning has gained international recognition" by Wikipedia.
That is a hefty accomplishment by someone her age. Further evidence of her success in drawing attention and keeping the spotlight on the older generation's complete inability and unwillingness to do anything substantial is her recent speech to the United Nation's Climate Action Summit.
Here's her speech below:
I haven't listened to the full thing yet, and I'm probably not going to. The point of this post is not about what she said, but the fact that she, as a teenager, feels the need to say this.
The fact that someone of her age has to give a speech of this magnitude to people in the room who can do something about it shows a complete failure of "growing up."
A sixteen-year-old shouldn't have to be saying these things. (It's great that she is, but that's a failure of her parent's generation more than her own initiative in talking about these issues openly.)
But here we are.
The evidence of my point lies in the reactions to the speech in person and online. The best way to look at the spectrum of responses is through a political lens. If you lean liberal, you were most likely clapping, shouting, and snapping your fingers to what Greta said in her speech. That's an appropriate reaction, but that's where it ends. No one on the liberal side of the political spectrum follows her call to action; they clap and cheer like its a football game.
The conservative side is even worse - some of the reactions to her speech are so vile, I don't also want to repeat them here on my blog. What was astounding to me was the sheer vitriol some of these right-leaning folks were showing to a sixteen-year-old who wants to make the planet habitable for her generation in the future.
The main point isn't that the politics and reactions of both sides are inadequate (even though that's true), it's the fact that both sides lack any meaningful response to Greta's speech. Viewing this through a political lens shows you the ranges of ideology that lead to the same inaction. Greta was the only adult in the room (and online) when she was giving her speech. If this isn't a clear warning on the dangers of "growing up."
Being an adult means you're now conditioned to either passively clap at the things you agree with but not follow through with action, or to attack anything that challenges the status quo actively.
It's insanity. Utter insanity. It's no surprise anything isn't getting done when those are the only reactions you're encouraged to have as an "adult." Critical thinking has been thrown out the window here as you get older folks.
What does this say about society as a whole then? In my previous piece, I argued that it could be in one's best interests to conform and abide by the social norms of a society if it is healthy. In this case, conformity leads to a lack of critical thinking and agency to take the appropriate action as you get older.
It's becoming more apparent that "growing up" leads you to conformity in an unhealthy society based on dependence and lack of critical thinking.
My next and last article in this series is going to talk about an alternative to the traditional pathway of "growing up."