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Opinion: Don’t Blame Greta Thunberg, We All Have To Choose On Climate Change

Published on: 7 Jan, 2022
Updated on: 7 Jan, 2022

By Charlie Bennett

Environment activist

A gargantuan comet is hurtling toward Earth on a collision course. Obliteration of life is imminent but humankind is ignoring the obvious, carrying on as if nothing is happening.

This is the allegorical premise of the film Don’t Look Up and it is an accurate portrayal of where we are with climate change.

I have concluded that there is no longer any middle ground. We all now have to choose.

For over sixty years, there has been a clamour to protect nature instead of ransacking it.

Environmental crusaders, from David Attenborough to Greenpeace, from WWF to IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) have been in a David versus Goliath battle which the majority support without putting much thought into it. Why wouldn’t we want to save whales getting slaughtered, or stop the destruction of the Amazon rainforest?

But time has gone by, the situation has changed and just wishing is not enough.

The science is irrefutable, we know what is coming and it is not an option to let someone else deal with the problem, even you reading this, especially you reading this.

It used to be up to governments and environmental groups to sort out the planet. We citizens were bystanders in this tussle, glancing every so often in their direction, giving our side a cheer and a thumbs up.

Yet the uncomfortable truth is we, inhabitants of this planet and members of its society, are being forced to make a choice because there is no middle ground anymore, and this is where the discomfort lies.

We have left it too late to let our leaders solve this problem. We now have to choose a side.

Whether you like it or not, whether you know it or not, you have already done so. To come to terms with this truth is man’s greatest challenge. We are either part of the problem or part of the solution.

Greta Thunberg, Extinction Rebellion and Insulate Britain are symptoms of society’s malaise and our political leaders’ inaction. We cannot blame those people or groups for what they do if the issue wasn’t ignored for so long by governments around the world.

One of the main battle cries of these protest groups is that they see themselves as the fire alarm for society. They are not there to be liked, they are there to grab you by the collar and shout in your face “Wake the f*** up!”

Wake up from your polluting, from your mindless Netflix flicking, and your corporate cappuccino.

Wake up and look up, not to the sky for a meteor but away from the trivia on your phones.

Look at what’s really happening around you. Look at what you’re eating, what you’re driving. Consider who you are voting for and why.

Because now you are complicit. It is time to join the David and Goliath fight.

I can tell you a secret that deep down you already know. Goliath doesn’t care about you; he just wants to make as much money from you as possible, regardless of the detriment to your physical and mental health, your wealth and your kids’ futures.

They want us to feel powerless but actually, if we all act, perhaps we are not.

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Responses to Opinion: Don’t Blame Greta Thunberg, We All Have To Choose On Climate Change

  1. David Roberts Reply

    January 7, 2022 at 5:22 pm

    OK, I’ve woken up. Now what?

  2. Sue Hackman Reply

    January 8, 2022 at 12:28 pm

    I thought the film was a bit better than the reviews, which were deflating and missed the point. Luckily, viewers are watching it in huge numbers, proving that critics are not as powerful as we suppose.

    By the way, before anyone takes Charlie’s advice to abandon Netflix, they might wish to use the service to watch the film; that is where it is streaming at the moment. (And I won’t be giving up the cappucinos myself; there has to be something left to live for.)

    In my experience, few people actively wish to destroy life on earth, but they don’t see how they can use their personal levers to make a huge change. I urge people reading Charlie Bennett’s article to join a political party that has the muscle, electability and policies to make that change happen.

    Sue Hackman is a spokesperson for Guildford Labour

  3. Jules Cranwell Reply

    January 9, 2022 at 7:10 am

    It is our council that needs to wake up. They have adopted a Local Plan that will do similar damage to our local environment as deforestation of the Amazon.

    It’s about time they told us the scope of the promised review, and a progress report is long overdue.

    • Robert Burch Reply

      January 11, 2022 at 6:15 pm

      Please can Jules Cranwell provide some evidence to support his claim that the “Local Plan that will do similar damage to our local environment as deforestation of the Amazon”?

      I don’t like the current Local Plan, but I do not think it poses the same environmental risk.

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