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LETTER: Without Earth there is no Us

Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg watches as U.S. President Donald Trump enters the United Nations to speak with reporters in a still image from video taken in New York City, U.S. September 23, 2019.
Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg watches as U.S. President Donald Trump enters the United Nations to speak with reporters in a still image from video taken in New York City, U.S. September 23, 2019. - Andrew Hofstetter

I was going to write about former provincial cabinet minister Perry Trimper and PM Justin Trudeau and their recent shock, awful, OMG moments, but decided on writing about something much more inspiring, much more meaningful, much more powerful and much more universal that is happening on planet Earth.

It’s the youth of this world and what they’re doing peacefully to prevent the destruction of the world by outdated government policies and actions which are causing critical global climate change. We’re not talking young people in their 20s and 30s, and yes, they’re part of it; we’re talking teenagers, children under 12 years of age and preschoolers.

These young people are growing up educated in science, believing in science and what it is telling them about their world and how it is being destroyed by policies that promote significant climate change.

They are growing up with far more knowledge about the world and its complexities than ever before. Isn't that what we wanted as parents and educators?

Daily they are confronted by and witnessing the damage done by governments and industry to the environment and their goal is to stop the carnage against the Earth before it too late for future generations.

This is not the 1960s and Woodstock all over again.

The youth today are getting high on passion and action to save life on Earth. They are demonstrating, raising their voices, marching with forward thinking, demanding and pushing aside old, linear thinking, while forcing economic-driven dinosaur politicians to think more profoundly about the physical Earth, to halt global warming, reduce fossil fuel consumption and avert environmental catastrophe.

They are future voters but they are leaders now.

They are showing world leaders “the way forward” while demanding and challenging governments, politicians and industry to change their old ways of doing things economically.

By the end of the century, it is estimated that 13 million Americans will need to move just because of rising sea levels, at a cost of $1 million each, according to Florida State University demographer Matthew Haeur, who studies climate migration.

A comprehensive study carried out by Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Canada’s Wildlife Research Centre, and other institutions analyzed population changes across 529 breeding bird species in the United States and Canada and found that there are nearly three billion fewer wild birds in the skies of North America today than there were in 1970, a decline which experts say could have a devastating effect on the continent’s food networks and ecosystems.

Other studies are indicating that Greenland is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet, and is today the largest contributor to rising sea levels that could become catastrophic for coastal cities around the world.

A 16-year-old Swedish environmental activist named Greta Thunberg is raising global awareness while pushing world leaders to do more to prevent a climate crisis. She is being supported by millions of students worldwide who have a single message: instead of listening to her and other teenagers, lawmakers should be listening to scientists and their expertise to slow rising global temperatures.

Thunberg noted: “This is not about us. This is not about youth activism. … We don’t want to be heard. We want the science to be heard.”

No doubt Greta Thunberg is an inspirational leader to many as she delivers their single message to world leaders.

We, too, have young Thunbergs all around us in Newfoundland and Labrador who also inspire and lead by their actions.

Take a moment, look around your communities, your schools, and in your homes and you will find incredible, passionate, truly “forward-thinking” young leaders like your own sons, daughters, grandsons and granddaughters.

Isn’t it time that they be heard?

Dwight Ball, Ches Crosbie, Alison Coffin, are you and your political parties listening or are you, like dinosaurs, well past your time? Are you preparing and ready to hear their universal voices? Thunberg left U.S. members of congress with this thought: “This is the time to wake up” and warned UN emergency meeting on climate-change ignore young people at their peril. “Do you think they will hear us? We will make them hear us?”

P.J. Dwyer,
Gander


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