Greta (a stranger to some…)

February 28th, 2020

I’ve just listened to 17 year old Greta Thunberg address a huge muddy crowd at College Green, Bristol.

Tears were running down my face – why should all these children and young people be fighting for our planet?

Most of the young speakers, incredibly impressive as well, were celebrating the achievements of the youth climate movement, particularly in Bristol, trying not to spread ‘gloom and doom’. 

Greta Thunberg, however, got straight to the point – NOTHING is being done (on a large enough scale). She acknowledged the Bristol Airport expansion rejection achievement, but added “of course it’s not enough”. And she repeated her warning to those in power: “We are not going away”.

The climate strike march was attended by 30,000 people – many came to see ‘Greta’ (chants of her first name greeted her arrival) of course, but more importantly (everyone there would agree, I’m sure) we turned out because we’re frightened, angry about the future and WANTING ACTION….. for our amazing, trusting, anxious, children and grandchildren.

I had a sobering experience on the way home – a young mother, travelling with me back from Bristol, had never heard of Greta Thunberg…. I gave her my ‘non-business as usual’ card… We all need to spread the word and engage with more people, even if it might be tempting to ignore/protect everyone (‘nearest & dearest’ as well as kind, innocent strangers…!)

Bernard Looney, BP’s CEO, was broadcast on Radio 2 as saying “The world is changing, and we have to change too – what’s more we actually WANT to change”….

I’ll be asking him about his real motivations/‘wants’ when I meet him on April 23rd – he’s responded to a personal letter from me. 

In the lead-up to today’s Bristol event, the BBC couldn’t help reducing the fundamental issue of the climate emergency to a ‘personality/cult’ thing: “Who is Greta Thunberg and what does she want?” You’re missing the point, BBC. She wants a better world for her generation, indeed for us all. Leave it at that. 

Other news this week: the third runway plans at Heathrow Airport have been ruled illegal by the court of appeal because ministers did not adequately take into account the government’s commitments to tackle the climate crisis. That is very good news.

But I do despair about the lack of progress. What commitments exactly?! Yes, they have a target… 2050 (too late..) But what plans are actually being put into place to meet targets, what action is happening? Houses are still being built, without sustainable heating; and being built on flood plains.

Wet wood and house coal is to be banned from next year, to address the serious issue of air pollution. Excellent. A ‘drop in the ocean’, however…?  

Are there more fundamental plans to phase out oil and coal heating systems…?

I’ve written to two of our local suppliers, systems that are common in rural areas such as where I live.

I’ve also written to Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon – he’s committed loads of money to ‘climate change solutions’ but at the same time funds climate-denying think tanks and climate-delaying policy; as well as penalising the amazing, brave ‘Amazon Employees for Climate Justice’….

And I intend to contact JP Morgan Chase Bank (CEO James Dimon) – similar ‘half-cocked’ climate pledges seem to be happening there…

Sorry, I could go on, but I’m sure you don’t want me to…

Somehow, I feel more gloomy after today’s March – the passion, commitment and energy of all those young people is unbearably moving….

I met a lovely woman on the train to the event, however – I hope she won’t mind that I encourage any of you to check out her blog (for the sake of her grandchildren, as mine is…one grandson, so far, but three ‘children’ I so love….):

She told me about an inspiring, encouraging positive film, 2040, which concentrates on all the amazing projects that are being done around the world to promote a greener future.

Seaweed has wonderful properties, apparently – there are so many answers: the people in power need to really WANT to change and fund the solutions, not add to the problems.

That’s the end for today….

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