Die Stimme(n) der Vernunft. Greta Thunberg. No one is too small to make a difference. [GER & ENG]

To all of you who have never treated this crisis as a crisis. To all the Influencers who stand up for everything except the climate and the environment. To all the political parties who pretend to take the climate question seriously. To all the politicians that ridicule us on social media, and have named and shamed me so that People tell me that I’m retarded, a bitch and a terrorist, and many other things.

click here to go directly to the english part of the article

Was mich an den Diskussionen um die Fridays-for-Future-Bewegung am meisten erzürnt hat, war die Arroganz, mit der die Generation meiner Eltern (50++) die Generation Greta Thunbergs (12+) nicht ernst nimmt. Worum es da auf diversen Online-Plattformen nicht alles ging: Den Vorwurf, die Jugendlichen würden ja nur die Schule schwänzen wollen. Die Unterstellung, dass sie gar kein Recht hätten, etwas zum Klimawandel zu sagen oder gar Vorschläge zu machen, weil sie zu wenig darüber wüssten. Die selbstverständliche Degradierung aufgrund ihres Alters. Ein Move, den ältere Generationen ja gerne mal machen, wenn sie den jüngeren Generationen Wissen, Einfluss und Berechtigung absprechen möchten. Sehr selten ging es in diesen Diskussionen um die eigentlichen Kernthemen, nämlich den fortschreitenden Klimawandel, seine verheerenden Auswirkungen in der nahen Zukunft und Möglichkeiten, diese abzuschwächen, wenn man sie womöglich schon längst nicht mehr gänzlich verhindern kann.

In den letzten Wochen habe ich versucht, mit der Generation 50++ ins Gespräch zu kommen. Ich wollte wissen, wie sie den Klimawandel sehen und welche Maßnahmen sie ergreifen, um ihren Beitrag zu leisten. Das Ergebnis war extrem schockierend, denn nichts hörte ich öfter als das Argument, dass sie gar nichts unternehmen, weil sie die Auswirkungen des Klimawandels eh nicht mehr volle Breitseite mitkriegen werden. Die Bemühungen der jungen Aktivist*innen wurden belächelt oder abfällig kommentiert. Jetzt ist es nicht so, dass ich mit Menschen gesprochen habe, die total frustriert sein könnten, weil ihnen das Leben nichts geschenkt hat, weil sie arm sind oder sonst irgendwie benachteiligt. Im Gegenteil. Diese Aussagen stammen von sehr privilegierten Menschen, die obendrein noch Kinder und sogar Enkel haben. Leider lassen sich diese Tendenzen nicht nur in den älteren Generationen beobachten, sondern auch in meiner (25+). Ich glaube langsam, dass es genau diese Privilegien sind, die uns so egoistisch und abwertend sein lassen. Statt die junge Generation zu bejubeln, weil sie endlich, nach der meinen, die politisch ungefähr so aktiv war wie eine tote Forelle, wieder mit Haltung und Idealen in der Öffentlichkeit steht, machen wir sie klein und versuchen, ihr das Rückgrat zu brechen. Statt stolz darauf zu sein, dass auf die Generation Z (auch gern „Millenials“ genannt) mit ihrer Plan- und Ziellosigkeit aufgrund der für sie überfordernden Möglichkeiten und wegfallenden Grenzen, die das Internet mit sich brachte, nun solche Menschen folgen, die interessiert und informiert sind und die offensichtlich genau wissen, wie sie das Internet für sich nutzen können, mit dem ihre Geschwister und Eltern so haderten, die schon so jung genau wissen, was sie wollen, die wieder einen Gemeinschaftssinn entwickeln, und die vor allem wissen, dass das schönste Haus, das dickste Auto und der geilste Scheiß nichts mehr wert sind, wenn wir alle jämmerlich verdursten.

Mit Greta Thunberg hat diese Bewegung ein Gesicht und eine Stimme, die uns so viel lehren könnte, wenn wir es zuließen. Wenn wir unseren falschen Stolz endlich ablegen könnten. Aber viele können das wohl einfach nicht mit sich vereinbaren, sich etwas von Jüngeren abzuschauen. Etwas von ihnen zu lernen.

Ich bin froh, dass es trotz der deprimierenden Vielzahl an Total-Verweigerern auch noch die gibt, die umdenken wollen. Auch in den Generationen unserer Eltern und Großeltern. Deshalb habe ich Gretas Buch nicht alleine gelesen, sondern mir einen Co-Autor ins Boot geholt. Dean, 65 Jahre, coolste Socke des Planeten, hat sich gern der Aufgabe angenommen, seine Gedanken zu Gretas Reden und dem Klimawandel aufzuschreiben. Der folgende Text ist auf Englisch verfasst.

The voice of reason.

“Greta Thunberg was born in 2003, in August 2018. She decided not to go to school, starting a strike for the climate outside the Swedish Parliament. Her actions ended up sparking a global movement for action against the climate, inspiring millions of pupils to go on strike for our planet. And earning her the prestigious Prix Liberte, as well as Nobel Peace Prize nomination. Greta has Asperger’s and considers it a gift to see the climate crisis ‘in black and white’.”

This is the introduction to Greta Thunberg’s book ‘No One is Too Small to Make a Difference’, which is collection of eleven speeches she delivered over a period of nine months from September 2018.

I was at wedding reception recently and started chatting to a couple I had never met before. In the course of the conversation they were telling me how life was wonderful living in a beautiful village in the Cotswolds, the rich and green area of middle England. They also told me that they and their fellow villagers had recently won a two year battle with the authorities to prevent a wind farm being built in the vicinity of the village. They emphasised that they understood the value of wind farms and had nothing against them personally but didn’t want the turbines within their vision. This short conversation pretty much sums up a lot of attitudes towards climate change and the need to develop new sources of power, as long as it doesn’t affect people personally. Because of the occasion I chose not to enter into a big debate on the subject although my views are diametrically opposed to theirs. I was dismayed by their attitude but not surprised. I couldn’t blame them though, they were simply unaware of the sheer scale of the climate crisis and the facts, and why should they be? Nobody is telling them, the people who should be simply aren’t.

It seems ironic that it has taken a fifteen year old girl from Sweden to create the biggest awareness campaign on climate change and the now critical need for action. A campaign that has been widely praised and widely derided in almost equal measure. To use internet terminology, it has gone ‘viral’ across the whole world. Bruce Springsteen sang ‘You can’t start a fire without a spark’ in his iconic hit ‘Dancing in the Dark’. When she embarked upon her stance with the initial school-strike, Greta Thunberg was certainly dancing in the dark, with no idea of the impact or implications it would have, especially on her parents who initially rejected her plan and refused to support her. She has proved to be the spark that did light a fire.

What she was certain of was her conviction that, unless the world takes radical action immediately to drastically reduce carbon emissions, the planet and humanity will be destroyed. Her Asperger’s condition, she says, enables her to better see things in black and white and she rightly makes no apology for that. She sees the climate change crisis for what it actually is and not what others would have you believe, shades of grey.

Her message is short, concise, yet very powerful and extremely clear. It is not a long book, filled with technical detail and analysis and is easy to read. She has researched the subject through the detail of the Paris Agreement 2016 and the IPCC Report 2017 on the challenges facing the planet with climate change. She has admirably honed her argument from these studies and throughout the book cleverly introduces the key facts which add great strength to what is her ‘call to arms’. There are only 10 years (which she counts down into months, days and hours as time passes) before climate change becomes irreversible, the need within that time to reduce carbon emissions by 80% and global temperature by 2% and not 1.5% as agreed in Paris are her consistent messages.

The eleven speeches have subtle differences but the same message is repeated over and over again. Her style is one that ‘oft repeated messages become the truth’. She passionately believes she is speaking the truth and wants those in control of our future to believe it is the truth. A style reminiscent of US President Bill Clinton who regularly repeated his important messages over and over again until he felt his point had been received and understood. It proved to be a very effective style of leadership.

The impact on her audiences is made greater still by the use of the excellent analogy throughout of the house on fire we are just sitting trying to either ignore it entirely or trying to decide what to do about it. Her message is loud and clear WE NEED TO PANIC before it is too late.

She saves her most telling address until last with a scathing attack, dripping with irony, wit and sarcasm, to the UK Government. She uses the UK as an example of countries with the largest carbon debt, who now should have the greatest responsibility to find and lead the solutions. Climate change should be the highest priority and much higher than forcing emergency meetings on Brexit, when the future of humanity is at stake.

At no stage throughout the book does purport to have any solutions to the crisis but she does know where they lie. She simply implores Governments, Politicians, Businesses and their leaders across the globe to put climate change at the very top of their agendas by engaging fully with scientists, listening to them and acting upon their advice. This is the only body which can find the solutions necessary. This, she recognises, will involve a huge change in the way we live our lives for the sake of our children and all our future generations. She does pretend it is anything other than hugely complex challenge, which of course it is, in this age of technology and a global economy.

I am part of the generation who by and large too complacent, too self-absorbed, to disbelieving or just too ignorant of the facts. Maybe they have reached an age where they have little time or respect for the opinions of youth or they either don’t want to or believe they don’t need to continue learning. Personally. I have always believed that once you stop learning, you might as well be dead. I learned a great deal about myself, my thought processes and my future actions from this book, from Greta’s powerful message and from the courage and determination she has demonstrated in her quest. I sincerely hope that those audiences Greta Thunberg has addressed have listened and learned too that climate change has to be the priority and we all need to panic and act to save our burning house.

I can highly recommend this short read which I can guarantee will have an impact on you.

At the close of her address to the UK Parliament she said sardonically “I hope my microphone was on. I hope you could all hear me” Sadly I am not confident that she will have been heard but hope springs eternal.

Greta Thunberg. No one is too small to make a difference. Die Originalausgabe erschien 2019 bei Penguin Books. Die deutsche Ausgabe erscheint am 26. Juni 2019 unter dem Titel Ich will, dass ihr in Panik geratet!: Meine Reden zum Klimaschutz bei Fischer Taschenbuch.

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