Greta Thunberg : The voice we need.

Greta Thunberg : The voice we need.

Greta Thunberg

 

I’ve often heard it said that children are very wise. Usually this remark has been made after a child has displayed blind religious faith by regurgitating some religious statement or repeated a saying at an appropriate time. In my experience children are not wise. They can be clever, witty and very loving. They undoubtedly enhance our lives greatly, but they are not wise.

Wisdom comes with experience. We can all look back at times in our past when we thought we knew it all. We now realise we didn’t. We are more wise now than we used to be. Presumably that continues until the end, albeit at different rates for different people. Wisdom isn’t the only thing that increases with age. Bias also increases. Often more quickly. Social media has arguably made biases increase at a faster rate than ever. Many of us live in online echo chambers where we read news and share opinions that reinforce our views. An inconvenient truth.

Much of our bias comes from learning. We get jobs where we learn the ropes. We learn to survive and function within societal rules and norms. We engage with politics and commerce that is bound by the way our society is structured. Our politicians thrive by offering what the masses want whether it is in their interests or not. We might be getting wiser as we age, but our biases also restrict our ability to see the bigger picture. We are institutionalised. When the very system we cling to is leading us headlong into climate disaster it is not surprising that we just can’t deal with it.

While children are not wise, they have much lower levels of bias. Their minds are not bound by years of playing the game of life. In the current climate crisis it is would be wise to listen to people who are less biased than we. Greta Thunberg is one such voice. Her recent speech to British M.P.’s makes for riveting reading. She doesn’t pretend to be a visionary that has made a shocking discovery that the world didn’t know about.

Greta Thunberg has simply researched the scientific consensus. She looked at the same data and studies that our political leaders presumably have. She herself says she is only repeating the message of united climate science. Greta Thunberg has emerged as a powerful voice because she is not bound by bias. She knows that the system on which our world functions is not capable of averting climate disaster. She doesn’t pretend to have all the answers. While politicians talk about carbon emissions reduction the problem is getting ever worse. We need to get to net zero emissions and beyond quickly to avert disaster. The system isn’t capable of doing it, but it must be done anyway. Quite a fight to take on at 16 years of age.

The negative reaction she is getting from some quarters is incredible. The justification given by those engaging in personalised criticism is often that she is now fair game because she has a public profile. That might be true if Greta Thunberg was preaching some fringe views. She clearly isn’t. Those that are attacking her are angry because they are prospering in the system that her facts threaten. They are profiting on bias and fake news. They are the worst of us. When they attack Greta Thunberg they are attacking science. They are attacking the futures of children around the world. It’s no harm that they are so clearly identifying themselves.

 

 

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