Where is our Greta?

Here she is - looking at us, looking right into us, right into our soul, just as she was on the title page of the UK version of The Big Issue.

Writing in it, Adrian Lobb begins:
In August 2018, Greta Thunberg took a stand. One small act of defiance for a 15-year-old Swedish girl became one giant global leap forward for change. One simple act of refusal - skipping school and sitting in silence outside the Swedish Parliament with a homemade placard saying: School Strike for the Climate - Thunberg sparked schoolchildren around the world into action.

She was joined by hundreds of thousands of young people taking their first steps into activism, no longer able to tolerate the failure of a generation of politicians to act fast enough in response to the climate crisis.

”It’s just spiralled out of control”, Thunberg says, speaking from her home in Stockholm...”in one way it feels like it was yesterday. But on the other hand, it feels like it was 10 years ago...”
Here we have a schoolgirl doing what our politicians haven’t the guts to do - demand that we take immediate action to counter the climate change effects that we hear about from climate experts every day - on radio, on TV, on current affairs programmes, on commentaries that play all night on our radios. We would need to be deaf or have tin ears to avoid their dire messages.

Yet we have a PM who habitually seeks to avoid the issue, who refuses to commit to zero emissions by 2050, who bends to the demands of the array of climate change deniers that sit at his side, fearful of losing their conditional support - an obscene example of politically motivated cowardice.

Ahead of official G7 talks, PM Morrison travelled to Cornwall for dialogue with the leaders of South Africa, South Korea and India about ‘climate change, nature and open societies’. G7 environment ministers had already agreed to deliver climate change targets in line with the Paris Agreement, which limits the rise in global temperatures to 1.5 degrees. But burdened by Australia’s indolent record on climate change, its unambitious targets, and its unenviable status of being a major fossil fuel producer and exporter, what could he, what did he, contribute?

On arrival there, in his typically grandiose style, Morrison announced: This is a very important place for Australia to be today as we touch down here in the United Kingdom to join the G7-plus dialogue.That was it!

In The price of arrogance: we asked if you were embarrassed by Morrison’s response to Biden’s strident message to the climate change forum he sponsored: "The signs are unmistakable. The science is undeniable. But the cost of inaction keeps mounting.” Our PM shamed us by telling the world that he will run his own race irrespective of other countries and their opinions. With characteristic arrogance, he refused to bow to pressure from the US to use the summit to announce an increased target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. He told an astonished summit: We are well on the way to meet our Paris commitments" thereby exposing the enlarging gulf between Australia and its allies about how best to tackle the climate crisis. For good measure, Morrison added: “We'll update our long-term emissions reduction strategy in time for the Glasgow COP26 climate action conference", scheduled for November. Another ‘nothing to see here’ move.

So where is our steely-eyed Greta to refute Morrison? One of the Greens? A Labor politician? An independent, perhaps Zali Steggal, the one who ignominiously ejected Tony Abbott in Warringah to a state of irrelevance?

Please offer your own nomination. Who is your Greta? Readers will be interested. For me, the one most like Greta is Penny Wong. Strong, articulate, well-informed, outspoken, believable.

She’s my Greta!

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Michael Taylor

28/06/2021

I tip my lid to one of our writers - RosemaryJ - who at 84 has spent every Wednesday afternoon for the past two years on the steps of the NT Parliament holding placards appealing to the government to get more serious about climate change. 

She’s an inspiration. 

Ad Astra

28/06/2021

Michael, Rosemary is certainly one of our Gretas! 

Pat

28/06/2021

That we even think we need a 'Greta' says so much about our so-called democracy.  Surely we need some 'structural" mechanisms that enable us to have our views formally recognised and acted upon? 

Again, we have the technology the means to achieve that end.  All we lack is the political will and perhaps the imagination.

Guess, the sleepers will not wake.  Thus, we know who the enemy is.  It is us!

TalkTurkey

29/06/2021

Ad astra

I think there is only one Greta but millions of them in their own ways around the world, but they are all very young because only they will have to face the future. I pity them because it is now clear that Life on Earth has not, in the very apposite metaphoric image, the proverbial "snowball's chance in Hell" of surviving now. You can't imagine how I hate myself, along with everyone and everything else humans have done to our fantastic planet, for having to say this .. The image of the crazy man with The End Is Nigh sign is ingrained as ridiculous .. but unfortunately he's always been right. How I wish it were not so. Greta knows it's all too late, as does David Suzuki, David Attenborough and everyone with the eyesight to read the writing on the wall and the courage to admit it. Those with children don't want to read that writing and the children who increasingly live in dread whenever they think about it are kept worrying about rent and study and work, with reality kept at bay with sex and drugs and babies and social media and electronic games and sport and rock and roll, and they are utterly powerless to do anything to change the course of our species and our planet. In Cat Stevens' words, we're locked towards the future.

It has always been seen as a positive for someone always to project positivity, to be upbeat and optimistic, and that it is unmentionable or frowned upon as a party-pooper to say anything to the contrary. But it seems to me that it is dishonest to be upbeat now, even counter-productive, except that there is no long-term productive now, in the planetary survival sense. Greta doesn't want to enunciate it, but I see the fury, the resentment and the terror in her eyes and I respect it deeply but there's nothing to be done. So sorry. 

W H Auden said my feelings very well ..

1. Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,

2. Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,

3. Silence the pianos and with muffled drum

4. Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

5. Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead

6. Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,

7.Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,

8. Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

9. He was my North, my South, my East and West,

10. My working week and my Sunday rest,

11. My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;

12. I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.

13. The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;

14. Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;

15. Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood;

16. For nothing now can ever come to any good.

Ad Astra

29/06/2021

Talk Turkey

What a splendid contribution to this piece you have made, as you always do.

Your comment evokes sadness. We have been careless.  Our children should have been able to expect more of us as custodians of our world. We have let them down, and every effort good people make to give them hope is neutered by selfish politicians hell-bent on furthering their own agenda, irrespective of the damage it might do. W.H. Auden’s list is sobering, sorry,  sad, and its conclusion nihilistic. 

Ad Astra

29/06/2021

Pat,

Your conclusion is the sad reality. Experience tells us that our current batch of politicians will not awaken us. They themselves are asleep, and are unlikely to ever wake up to the contemporary reality.

How many oranges do I have if I have 3 oranges and take ONE away?