Greta Thunberg is the face of a global revolution by young people on climate change. We need many more like her
If you have not read about Greta Thunberg and the climate revolution that this teenager from Sweden is leading, you have either been living under a rock or completely obsessed by domestic news. However, this is the time that you must pay heed to what this young girl has been saying, which is quite simply that the way we are living today is unsustainable for the environment, that the current generation is completely messing up the planet and this will make it uninhabitable for future generations. Her voice is strong and credible, simply because she practises what she preaches, eliminating carbon footprints in her everyday life. For her journey to New York to address the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), she refused to fly. Instead, she sailed with her father, a two-man crew and a cameraperson on the 60-foot Malizia II racing yacht with solar panels and underwater turbines that generate electric power. Understandably she is being heard across many developed nations. However, she is not being heard in several others, including India. That is why it is vital that India gets a Greta Thunberg of its own, someone who can speak truth to the powers that be about the way we are treating this planet. Undoubtedly, the country will suffer some of the worst consequences of global warming and it is important that voices of young people, who will suffer the consequences of our actions and the lack of policy initiatives when it comes to the environment, are heard.
Climate change is for real and while leaders and bureaucrats in our country understand that, one presumes they are so focussed on other matters right now that environment is being swept under the carpet as a secondary concern. India and the rest of the world cannot afford to make this mistake. As the burning Amazon rainforest reminds us, the actions or inactions of nations will have long-term implications for humanity as a whole. India needs voices to pipe up and the media will play a crucial role here. Instead of the incessant jingoism and the bullying that masquerades as nationalism, we need to talk about the environment. And who better than a teenager, someone whose generation will suffer the consequences of what we do today, can do that? This effort also requires teachers in schools to make young people aware of how unbridled and unchecked development will impact the country and the world. It is a challenge though in India, not least because it is faced with the task of lifting millions out of poverty and hopelessness and giving them access to electricity and other such services, which will have an environmental impact. An aspirational population, which wants access to modern conveniences, will have an environmental impact. For better or worse, it would be desperately unfair for anyone to argue that they should not aspire towards a better future. There will be more thermal power generated and as new factories, airports and roads come up, we cannot escape all these. Ergo, it is important to teach the population at large to minimise that impact and this will be best served by someone young. While Miss Thunberg carries on with her stellar work, convincing young people and politicians in Western nations, who have contributed the most to environmental degradation, that they have to change their ways, we need an Indian inspiration.
Writer & Courtesy: The Pioneer