Age is the difference. “For more than 30 years, science has been crystal clear. How dare you continue to look away and come here saying that you’re doing enough when the politics and solutions needed are still nowhere in sight.” There was an urgency in the speech delivered by 16-year old Greta Thunberg at the UN General Assembly (UNGA) Climate Action Summit on September 23, 2019.
Greta’s urgency is shared by all the students filling streets and squares all over the world, whereas that urgency is utterly absent in the looks, choices, behaviour of those who observe them with contempt or paternalism. Typical of those who believe to know better, to know how the world works and consider these battles typical of age: genuine, naive, but mainly useless, as the boys will discover themselves later.
The Friday for Future regarded as a whim or, more benevolently, as teen idealism, typical of the age in which you believe you can reshape the world and change the same things you will embrace and protect with maturity. Disillusion and cynicism push, for different reasons, in the same direction: some hope to block or defuse the protest, others have stopped dreaming and believing. None of them deserves the last word in a debate that they have always avoided.
Awareness-raising and information have been useful. Today, at least in the younger generation, there is a clear perception of the problem: “No planet B”. The average increase in temperatures in the last five years is 1.1 ° C; carbon dioxide emissions keep growing and only last year we arrived at the record figure of 37 billion tons of CO2; 159 billion tons of ice lost each year in the South Pole (three times what happened in 1990); in the last half-century the demand for water has doubled and two billion people live in countries that no longer have enough water to meet basic needs. Facts.
Those who have contributed to determining those situations should feel embarrassed. On the contrary, they contest the figures in words, without scientific evidence. Like the Clintef group, made up of 75 Australian businessmen, retired managers, engineers and geologists, who wrote to the Secretary of the United Nations Antonio Guterres to say that “there is no climatic emergency”.
In Kabul students, defying the risk of attacks, take to the streets for the future, when the war continues to deny them even the present. Their courage tells us where the reason lies and the priorities: nothing is more urgent and global than the protection of the planet earth and its inhabitants. The irrational use of natural resources and the possibilities offered by technological progress has made what was abundant insufficient. Which is the problem? Climate or man? The man turned the climate into a problem, and he has to solve it. The boys are just reminding us of our obligations.