By Isabella @TheWandCarver
A little under a year ago nobody had really heard of Greta Thunberg apart from her parents, teachers, and schoolmates. Then, this small girl began her small skolstrejk för klimatet [school strike for climate change], technically skolstrejk för klimatförändringar… all alone in August 2018 in front of the Swedish Parliament. Now, children from around 110 countries, according to the BBC, have joined Greta by staging school strikes most Fridays [although it is not unheard of on a Thursday or a Saturday]. Now, she has been nominated for the Nobel Peace prise. I do hope she wins, although I’m quite sure Miss Thunberg doesn’t really care about awards. What she desperately wants is for adults, particularly adults in government, to stop playing silly beggars with children’s lives, and of course, all lives.
You may be surprised to learn that Greta’s skolstrejk för klimatet was not the first. In November 2015, an independent group of students invited other students around the world to skip school on the first day of the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris. On 30 November, the first day of the conference, a “Climate Strike” was organized in over 100 countries; over 50,000 people participated. The movement focused on three demands: 100% clean energy; keeping fossil fuels in the ground and helping climate refugees. Shortly before this a young girl named Kelsey Juliana and 21 other child litigants represented by the non-profit organization Our Children’s Trust [US], brought suit against the US and sought confirmation that their constitutional and public trust rights had been violated by the government’s actions, and sought an order to enjoin the defendants from continued violation of their rights and to develop a plan to mitigate carbon dioxide emissions.
The children have been doing all the work whilst many adults [most of whom are in government and conservatives] turn a blind eye to Climate Change aka Climate Crisis. It does bring to mind dear old Nero, whom we know as per the saying, could only fiddle whilst Rome burned. But then, I guess Nero could not have saved Rome single-handedly therefore he just “fiddled”. But what might have happened if Nero organised others to help douse the fires? If Nero had set an example of bravery and strength? Maybe he tried to…
Firstly… there were no such instruments as violins / fiddles in Rome c.64 AD. So, Nero wasn’t fiddling in that respect. Still, Nero was fiddling in a sense. July of 64 A.D., a great fire ravaged Rome for six days, destroying 70 percent of the city and leaving half its population homeless. According to a well-known expression, Rome’s emperor at the time, the decadent and unpopular Nero, “fiddled while Rome burned.” The expression has a double meaning: Not only did Nero play music while his people suffered, but he was an ineffectual leader in a time of crisis. It has been easy to cast blame on Nero, who had many enemies and is remembered as one of history’s most sadistic and cruellest leaders.
History shows that when the Great Fire broke out, Nero was really at his villa at Antium, some 35 miles from Rome. Though he immediately returned and began relief measures, people still didn’t trust him. Some even believed he had ordered the fire started, especially after he used land cleared by the fire to build his Golden Palace and its surrounding pleasure gardens. Nero himself blamed the Christians [then an obscure religious sect] for the fire and had many arrested and executed.
Does this sound like any politician you know? It sounds like a couple or more to me. It is very worrying that Boris Johnson seems to be the odds-on favourite for becoming the next Prime Minister of the UK. Boris is a fiddler. And worst still – and this should worry you – is that from the US, Donald Trump endorses him. I never minded Boris much as London’s mayor, being far enough removed from me not to take the time to worry about him but as PM? Now I’m worried… and Trump likes him? Oh, now I’m seriously worried.
I don’t mean to do down the conservative’s full stop. There are a good many who want to be fair, work with the “opposition” at least on some important bills and measures. But these days of Trump and Johnson, not to mention the Filipino president, the Brazilian president, and the Venezuelan president, all being very much for themselves and themselves alone under the guise of making their countries “great again”. This individualistic kind of thinking is not appropriate to getting the world out of its existential crisis… Global heating. No, it is no longer global warming. That is too evocative of a slow, gradual warm-up. We are seriously flying past all previous predictions and are, by some reports, possibly going to go to 3 degrees Celsius by the end of this century. If you have children and grandchildren, you should be very worried… not concerned, but worried. I do, and I am.
I’ve heard people say, “Where was Greta Thunberg a long time ago?”. Well, when reports began in the seventies, her parents probably weren’t even born yet, so obviously… but why did we need a Greta? Why could we not have paid closer attention to what was being laid out on the table for all to see back then? Many did begin working toward a better ending than what we have coming but the majority most likely figured, “Ah we have loads of time” and promptly forgot all about it. Still, I am very grateful for all those who did latch on and began making some small progress to help the world and each other.
A news article recently posted, We Need More Greta Thunburgs… we have them already. I am Greta. You are Greta. Everyone who stands up to their government about their climate denialism, everybody who protests, everybody who blogs or vlogs encouraging people to wake up and start doing what they can, everybody whom is composting their kitchen scraps, driving electric cars or not driving full stop, everybody who turns their thermostat up or down depending on whether they are using air con or heat, everybody who pegs out their washing rather than using a gas tumble dryer, everyone who walks rather than drives, everyone whom has stopped flying, everyone whom has ended using single-use plastics, you are Greta.
And being Greta, we must work together, no matter where we are in the world, because we are all in this together.
Thank you for reading. I hope you will take a moment to like, share, and comment. I love hearing from my readers because your opinions are important to me. Many warm blessings to all whom this way wander x