Responding to Greta in a Different Way

by on December 24, 2019 · 8 comments

in Environment, From the Soul

Greta Thunberg. Photo

By Ernie McCray

Greta Thunberg, a 16 year old Swedish girl, travels across the Atlantic Ocean to Lower Manhattan, alone, [ed: with a crew] in a sailboat, to save our world from the deadly forces of climate change.

For such a risk-taking endeavor she was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize and named Time Magazine’s “Person of the Year.”

And our president, instead of offering her a High-Five, gets up at five and tweets that this wonderful girl is ridiculous and angry and needs to go to a good old-fashioned movie with a friend and “Chill.”

Say what? There’s got to be some version of the “pot calling the kettle black” in that response because what’s “ridiculous” is this is coming from a man who wears a scowl on his face, like a Halloween Mask, a man whom we see every day on TV having temper tantrums like a two-year old screaming for his mother’s teats, a man who can’t watch old-timey flicks with what few friends he has because his fellow thugs are in jail. He is not one to give advice on “chilling.”

But how unloving can a human being be?

I would have loved to have been, say, “President for a Day” on the day that Greta stepped from her sailboat onto American soil.

I would have welcomed her with a smile of admiration on my face as bright as a noonday sun with my arms opened as wide as I can extend them at age 81.

I can hear my own deep voice blending in with the students who chanted “Sea levels are rising and so are we! There is no Planet B.”

I’d invite her to dinner and pick her brain, to get her take on how we could fulfill her dream of preventing an entire ecosystem from collapsing – because she’s right when she says, due to our temperatures rising, that people truly are suffering and dying.

I’d let her know that she and I are on the same page in this grave matter, that like her, I also feel that, in spite of the science concerning climate change being crystal clear we tend to look away and say that we’re doing enough, when  we’re not. There are no solutions in sight.

The technologies needed to correct the dangers involved as emissions from around the world set off irreversible chain reactions beyond human control barely exist.

Greta would need to know I was deeply moved when she said “You say you hear us and that you understand the urgency, but no matter how sad and angry I am, I do not want to believe that. Because if you really understood the situation and still kept on failing to act then you would be evil and that I refuse to believe.”

If that kind of faith in humanity doesn’t move us what will?

Greta is asking us to stop going about business as usual, to stop pretending that we can solve the crisis, coming up with a few puny technical solutions every now and then, here and there, leaving her generation with living with the consequences of us not being mature enough to tell it like it is.

She’s calling us out on our shortcomings, declaring that young people are starting to understand our betrayal of them and that the eyes of all future generations are upon us and they are drawing the line, “right here, right now,” saying that if we keep refusing to take climate change seriously we will never be forgiven.

She seals her deal saying that she should be back in school on the other side of the ocean rather than representing what little hope regarding climate change there is.

That I took straight to heart.

And as president, as the glaciers melt from the heat, and the oceans rise, and the fires roar through the timberlands, and the rain forests are constantly being destroyed, I would promise Greta and her generation that I would do all I can to rally the world around slowing the destruction of our planet down significantly.

That’s about the most a president can do and should do to help the children of the world “chill,’ knowing their planet has been made as safe as possible.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Frank J December 24, 2019 at 3:25 pm

Thank you Ernie. I am a generation behind you, but with many friends between 21 and 50. It shocks me how few of them have never heard of Greta Thunberg, let alone the Paris Agreement. Or how few of them vote. Less than half have a clue about what our sad excuse for a leader and his party stand for, the only political party in the civilized world denying humans effect on climate. Keep on Greta… Just shrug and laugh at, like most of the world, at our man-child president. Stay focused, for it is you and your fellow activists that this earth is depending on.


sealintheSelkirks December 24, 2019 at 8:31 pm

“If that kind of faith in humanity doesn’t move us what will?”

It is with great sadness that I will answer that question, Ernie.

Nothing. I’m sorry. I’ve read far too much human history to have that kind of faith. And I read far too much science to force myself to believe otherwise. The ‘and Sciences’ on my degree doesn’t help with the reading science part… I read science every day. Damn my curiosity anyway.

The latest science from the top researchers is saying we’ve already crossed many tipping points, and that the Greenhouse Effect is baked into the atmosphere above our heads for roughly the next 1,000 years just from what is already there. A continuously rising line on a graph translates to horrific reality.

And all the while all forms of fossil fuel use has only gone radically up every single year as has, of course, CO2 and CH4. And the other GHG emissions. Co2 for the last million years only ranged as high as 258ppm. We are now at 415….

If you can find a copy I suggest you read the secret Pentagon report from 2003 quashed by the Cheney/w bush regime and suppressed by the US defense chiefs that was obtained and released by the Observer/UK on Feb. 22, 2004. I have an abbreviated summary of it. It was commissioned by influential Pentagon defense advisor Andrew Marshall, a Pentagon legend who was nicknamed ‘Yoda’ by Pentagon insiders who respected his vast experience…. Our federal government QUASHED it but hey what does one expect from oilmen running the government, eh?

Bluntly, the document predicted abrupt climate collapse (they used the Republican-invented term ‘change) and in the 2020s. It is now 15 years later and a young teenager is raging impotently because the people behind fossil fuel are investing ever-more billions to continue the flow of profits, profits, profits.

The insanity of our species is in full view on this. Anybody want to move to Australia this week? Or up here next to the Canadian border mountains where it is raining and 45’F on Christmas Eve? We turn our heads in order to not see because it makes us so scared inside…but it is all around us.

I have a long-time skier friend who booked an Airbnb rental in Phillipsberg Montana for a week of skiing at Discovery Basin with her adult daughter over the holiday. She invited me to drive over for a couple of days, go boarding with them (I’m about 6 hours away if the I-90 is clear). Discovery today was 20% open and 18inches at the summit of the 8,000 foot mountain. The webcams looked as bad as my local hill which is also sitting at less that 2 feet of snow on the Peak.

Big sigh. It’s visible everywhere if one just looks. Physics doesn’t care what we want to see no matter how hard we wish. Just cutting the military budget by 50% would help since the US military is the top single-point user of fossil fuel in the US…but that ain’t gonna happen, either, with Democrats jumping on the Trump bandwagon and voting for more billions every year…

Another big sigh. Maybe I should go rub on the dog for a while. She’s always able to make me smile through the tears…



Chris December 24, 2019 at 9:41 pm

Her heart might be in the right place but this other kids has better solutions.


John Stump December 25, 2019 at 7:38 pm

Greta has the right spirit and let’s hope she can keep her compass true for the rest of her life.

Trump on the other hand lives the life of playboy glitter and excess once the iconic dream of 60s. His life will soon pass.

As I scan Facebook and Holiday cards, I see more globe trotting vacation photos from across oceans and continents. Few presentation of Peace CORP commitments to install solar water pumps in villages, homeless feeding, or any of the other beatitudes

So before I jump on the popular Hate Trump wagon , I want to be sure I’m not a hypocrite praising Gretta but planning a jet vacation instead of picking a bike tour. In a Climate Emergency you have got to do more than pick sides. You’re either on the bus or the problem. Welcome to 2020 resolutions.


Thomas Gayton December 26, 2019 at 4:09 pm



Nanci Kelly December 26, 2019 at 11:31 pm

Chris, Just wanted to comment that we don’t need to, nor should we, choose one person who has the “better solutions.” Greta’s knowledge and leadership are critical to finding and implementing solutions. She connects with, inspires, other young global leaders. I have a great deal of respect for Boyan Slat and the work he’s doing to tackle the devastating problem of plastics in our oceans (the oil industry is attempting to increase the use of plastic containers to offset potential reduced demand in the utility and transportation sectors). BOTH of them are needed, as are the scores of other climate activists, to work on the multifaceted aspects of climate degradation and movement to a sustainable system.


Nanci Kelly December 26, 2019 at 11:41 pm

And thank you so much, Ernie. As a retired teacher and grandmother, I appreciate your insights about Greta’s wisdom and importance to all of us, but especially to the young.

“We did not inherit the earth from our parents, we are borrowing it from our children” – (from a quote with varied attributions)


Dr. J December 28, 2019 at 7:13 pm

Obviously, our President missed the boat, people keep coming but the train’s done gone.


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