OUR HOUSE IS ON FIRE!
Greta Thunberg, Climate Activist
“Adults keep saying we owe it to the young people, to give them hope, but I don’t want your hope. I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. I want you to act. I want you to act as you would in a crisis. I want you to act as if the house is on fire, because it is.”
Greta Thunberg is a sixteen-year old environmental activist from Sweden, who is diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Yet, when she was just 15 years old, Greta started a movement of the next generation for action on climate change, “Fridays for Future”. Her movement began when she left school in August of 2018 to demonstrate outside the Swedish Parliament until Sweden meets the carbon cutting goals of the Paris Accord. Soon, other students followed her example and began making similar protests in their communities.
Greta addressed the December, 2018 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Poland. She stated, “You only speak of green eternal economic growth because you are too scared of being unpopular.” After her address, student strikes began to take place every week all over the world.
In January, 2019, Greta went to Devos Sweden to the World Economic Forum. Greta bluntly urges political leaders and assemblies to address the climate crisis. In May of 2019, she was featured on the cover of Time magazine. Time named her a “next generation leader”.
Greta sailed to the United States in August of 2019 in a carbon-neutral, 60 foot racing yacht. While here, In September, Greta addressed the UN Climate Action Summit. She is currently speaking across Canada and the United States as she travels to Santiago, Chile, for a UN Climate Change Conference which is happening in December. Greta was in Montreal Canada, Chicago and Iowa City in recent days, demonstrating each Friday wherever she is.
Consider the wisdom and practicality of this young activist:
“What happens next? The year 2078, I will celebrate my 75th birthday. If I have children or grandchildren, maybe they will spend that day with me. Maybe they will ask me about you, the people who were around, back in 2018. Maybe they will ask why you didn’t do anything while there still was time to act. What we do or don’t do right now will affect my entire life and the lives of my children and grandchildren. What we do or don’t do right now, me and my generation can’t undo in the future. So when school started in August of this year, I decided that this was enough. I set myself down on the ground outside the Swedish parliament. I school striked for the climate. Some people say that I should be in school instead. Some people say that I should study to become a climate scientist so that I can “solve the climate crisis.” But the climate crisis has already been solved. We already have all the facts and solutions. All we have to do is to wake up and change. And why should I be studying for a future that soon will be no more when no one is doing anything whatsoever to save that future? And what is the point of learning facts in the school system when the most important facts given by the finest science of that same school system clearly means nothing to our politicians and our society. Some people say that Sweden is just a small country, and that it doesn’t matter what we do, but I think that if a few children can get headlines all over the world just by not coming to school for a few weeks, imagine what we could all do together if you wanted to.”
PRAYER OF POPE FRANCIS
All-powerful God, you are present in the whole universe
and in the smallest of your creatures.
You embrace with your tenderness all that exists.
Pour out upon us the power of your love,
that we may protect life and beauty.
Fill us with peace, that we may live
as brothers and sisters, harming no one.
O God of the poor,
help us to rescue the abandoned and forgotten of this earth,
so precious in your eyes.
Bring healing to our lives,
that we may protect the world and not prey on it,
that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction.
Touch the hearts
of those who look only for gain
at the expense of the poor and the earth.
Teach us to discover the worth of each thing,
to be filled with awe and contemplation,
to recognize that we are profoundly united
with every creature
as we journey towards your infinite light.
We thank you for being with us each day.
Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle
for justice, love and peace.