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Living Lightly column

Listen to the wisdom of the children

By Gill Baker, Wangaratta Sustainability

Greta Thunberg organised a ‘Youth Strike for Climate’ in her native Sweden last year because she realised that her generation was going to have to deal with the effects of rapid human induced climate change, and that many of the leaders of world today either do not want to listen, or are not prepared to take the action required to moderate these effects.

‘Climate Strike’, put into the vernacular, ‘went viral’. School students all over the world took a day off school to show their solidarity in an attempt to put the issue of Climate Change front and centre of the threats to their future. Unlike some of our leaders, many senior students do  ‘get the science’ – they understand what is happening to our atmosphere and oceans as the climate warms.

They know that globally, native forests, important carbon sinks, have been drastically reduced.

Locally, many students are aware that the Box Ironbark forest that once covered a large area of Victoria and NSW has been reduced by at least 70 percent in 200 years, and that Queensland is clearing its forests even more rapidly.

They also know that Australia, with 0.3 percent of the world’s population produces a disproportionate 1.5 percent of the world’s emissions.

Climate Change, and its effect on the environment our children and grandchildren will inherit, will inevitably lead to global disruption, conflict over water and agricultural land,  with mass movement of refugees fleeing areas of flood and drought.

Greta, a 16 year old with Asperger’s syndrome, one of those nasty labels which in fact probably accounts for her deep insight and passion, has already addressed world leaders at the UN and the Economic Forum, and has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Quotes from one of her speeches demonstrates the urgency of this cause, and Greta’s youthful wisdom:

“Here in Davos – just like everywhere else – everyone is talking about money. It seems money and growth are our only main concerns.

“Some say we should not engage in activism. Instead we should leave everything to our politicians and vote for change instead.

“But what do we do when there is no political will? What do we do when the politics needed are nowhere in sight?”