Greta Thunberg Has Given Up on Politicians. But Not You. | NYT Opinion


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Greta Thunberg Has Given Up on Politicians. But Not You. | NYT Opinion



Why are we asking a teenager how to solve the climate crisis?

“It’s absurd,” says Greta Thunberg, in an Opinion Video guest essay, that we are asking her to answer this question. Even more absurd, she argues, “is the fact that the climate and ecological emergency is being reduced to a problem that needs to be fixed.”

On Tuesday, evidence of what Thunberg calls the “political and economic failure” to address climate change was on full display when the United Nations released their annual report detailing “the difference between where greenhouse emissions are predicted to be in 2030 and where they should be to avert the worst impacts of climate change.”

The report paints a bleak picture of missed targets and pledges that don’t go far enough.

In her video guest essay, Thunberg criticizes the presidents, prime ministers, kings and queens attempting to wield her image for their own political gain.

The animated video offers a unique window into the life of the 18-year-old Swedish activist.

“You all come to us young people for hope. How dare you!? You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words,” Thunberg famously said to the United Nations.

Our video unpacks the experience of being transformed into an icon; the experience of being Greta Thunberg.

And Thunberg is correct — selfies and hashtags won’t save the planet.

And yet, she still believes humanity has not failed. In a rising ocean of troubling news, she has managed to hold on to hope.

Hope, not from politicians and leaders, but from ordinary people. The masses, she argues, have the power to create change.

As political powers head to Glasgow next week for COP26, Thunberg has a message to those of us not going to Scotland: “Hope comes from people, from democracy, from you.”

“It’s up to you and me,” she says. “No one else will do it for us.”
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33 Comments

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  1. Hello I'm Jared P. Scott and I co-directed this film for NYT Opinion. There is no silver bullet for solving the climate crisis, it is a silver buckshot — curious to hear your thoughts in the comments below… Also, we are days away from COP26 in Glasgow and pending legislation in the US, any hope for leadership to meaningfully address climate change? … Speaking of hope, well, are you hopeful? … I like Rebecca Solnit's description of hope as living in the "unstuck place between optimism and pessimism where action is possible." Optimists think everything’s going to be fine, no matter what happens, and they excuse themselves from action. And pessimists think we’re f**ked no matter what happens, and they excuse themselves from action. But hope lives in the unstuck middle place where agency is possible.

  2. Then if y'all want to put your money where your mouth is. Stop using anything that pertains to fossil fuels. If it's produced by fossil fuels, don't use it period. Gas, electricity, heat etc. If you use these things, Shut up, until you're not using these things.

  3. I don't think they (the multinational corporations or their captured political parties) see her as a lobbyist, she's just another agitator.

    A better idea would be for you younger ppl. to get together online and organize a movement that would take negligent govts., heavy industrial CO2 emitters and climate deniers to court in world wide class actions. Then they would take notice! . . .Protests do not change anything anymore, those days are all but gone!

  4. So what exactly are we supposed to do? I've seen the Cold war against Communism. The war on drugs. Lots of money wasted and not much accomplished. This girl is an obvious tool because no one is listening to the politicians or celebrities. Or scientists who love never ending problems with no solution. America's answer is throw money at the problem and wage war. Ya we have been here before.

  5. If only the "Green" parties around the world would stop boikotting nuclear power….
    Imagine a world where most of coal plants had already been phased out because of nuclear….

    It's so ironic, that these "activists from back then, banned the one thing that would have made this issue none existent today.

  6. Ah poor little misguided girl. It is not the politicians you need to target. You need to blame all of us normal people. We want our cars, phones, computers, fastfood, gadets and abundance. We humans are terrible at sacrificing when he have gotten the taste of the good life. I personally will not go back to horse and wagon and plow my own fields…I know, sounds selfish right? Thats because I am human, I can only see as far as my nosetip. Thinking about a future 10-20-50 years ahead is not programmed into my brain. Therefore it is easy to put all onto the politicians to fix the world for me.

  7. uuuga greta tttgggggggguuuuuungvommmitburrg was never a good CON girl IMO – just a nitwit – they will HAVE to drop her EVENTUALLY – for their 22 trillion dolla "ENVRIOMENT" FEAR SCAM INDUSTRY!!

  8. Her discourses suits with her older politicians, thats why her thoughts gets so much media coverage. You can always find a child in the world that have same thoughts with you. Its not important what she says, its about to what media boss share.

  9. La Palma – A Reflection of Our Toxic Relationships

    The Cumbre Vieja volcanic ridge on the Spanish island of La Palma, part of the Canary Islands, located some 70 miles off the coast of Morocco, in northwest Africa, has been spewing lava since the 19th of September. The eruption has now continued for more than 50 days with no signs of abating. Already, it has destroyed more than 2,600 buildings, cut the coastal highway, and formed a new peninsula. The lava has also destroyed the town of Todoque, and the fuming flow has reached the town of La Laguna. This eruption has already caused more damage than any eruption on La Palma since records began, and it shows no sign of fading. There is a way to stop eruptions, or at least mitigate them significantly, and it has nothing to do with how we treat the earth, and everything to do with how we treat each other.
    Earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, floods, and gigantic fires have all been growing more frequent and intense over the past several decades. But the forces that set them off are not related to the phenomena themselves, but to the human species, which intensifies them and causes them to erupt more frequently and fervently.
    Earth’s ecosystem is built like a pyramid. Its base is the inanimate level, the land masses and oceans that cover the planet. The next level is the flora, the plants that cover the earth, followed by the fauna, the animal kingdom, and at the top of the pyramid is humankind.
    The forces that govern the planet stretch from the top down. Like a hurricane, the eye of the storm is the least turbulent, but generates the mighty winds and torrents that surround it and destroy everything they touch. We are the eye of the storm. Our subtle but sinister intentions toward each other create the mayhem unfolding around us. It is therefore we, and only we who can calm the storm, for its engine is within us. Until we switch it off, the planet will keep burning.
    Nature is not only trees, animals, clouds, the earth, and the universe. Nature is first and foremost a force that fills all of reality. We exist within it and influence it through our conduct. When we, the top of the pyramid, conduct ourselves positively, we have a positive influence on all of nature. When we conduct ourselves negatively, this is the influence we have on everything.
    The pyramid-like structure of nature permeates all levels, including our thoughts and intentions. Therefore, when we spoil our intentions toward each other, the blight spreads downward like a cancer sending out its malignant metastases. If we want a calmer Earth and a kinder climate, we needn’t focus on carbon emissions or plastic waste. These will be fixed when we fix the top of the pyramid, the eye of the storm, namely our negative relation toward each other.

  10. We have adapted to extreme cold and heat time and time again. We thrive in every extreme on this planet, this very day. Oh, speaking of NYT opinion, that is their defense for lying about you when you sue them for defamation!

  11. As soon as politicians can make money from doing something about the climate crisis they will do something about it. As soon as The People stop letting politicians only serve themselves we can start making changes.

  12. I don't understand why Thunberg gets so much media coverage. Like, yes, she's spreading the truth on the climate crisis, but she's not a scientist, which makes everyone doubt her. IDK

  13. It is sad that politicians would rather fight the farthest (Left/Right) then see the middle. When we all live in the middle, the middle of life and death. Once you realize all your hard work is only to put your child in this world, without tools to help them when it only helped you. I say It is hard to quit! but it is also hard to change! Nothing is easy, unless it is giving up.

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