Climate action

How can a 16-year-old schoolgirl from Sweden capture the world’s attention on climate change?
Greta Thunberg is a only a partly educated child with a limited understanding of the nuances of the modern world and how this great, lumbering beast that is global humanity goes about its business.
Yet this slip of a girl with her simple, uncomplicated language has managed to cut through the rhetoric and associated ridicule on both sides of the climate change debate to become a beacon for the planet’s future.
Part of this phenomenon is more easily understood when you consider that US President Donald Trump has said many times climate change is a hoax while our own Prime Minister’s hands are still stained from the time he so gleefully brandished a lump of coal in the Australian Parliament pronouncing to the world that ‘coal would keep the lights on’ and there was nothing to fear from burning it.
Perhaps it is not too difficult for a naive but clear-eyed child to shine so brightly in such dim company.
It is true that coal has played a massive part in raising the living standards of millions of people and every one of us has benefited from its use. But the link between burning coal and dangerous rates of global warming are well documented and clear.
The science is settled.
Miss Thunberg says the time has come for humanity to seriously examine itself and its relationship with the planet for the good of future generations.
It’s a simple sentiment but one that is complex to achieve.
Politicians across the world are blinded by short electoral cycles and for many it is too easy to see only votes, jobs and economic growth while largely ignoring the bigger picture. It is easy to harvest low hanging fruit.
Laying the foundations for future generations is a task best left to extraordinary humans – and the political system doesn’t allow them to shine very often.
With Mr Trump’s bizarre views on this world problem it is not hard to see how Miss Thunberg has gained a credibility advantage in the argument.
The future will not be easy as the planet’s climate inevitably changes.
Perhaps the greatest influence this young activist can have is to encourage people to consider tomrrow rather than living for today.