MINISTERS HAVE been talking a good fight on tackling climate change recently. On the other hand, actual policies to make this happen are as transparently threadbare as the emperor’s new robes in the Hans Christian Anderson tale.
As leaders in Ireland and around the world agree that ‘something should be done’ to tackle the crisis, but not right now and certainly not by us, even a child can see that such naked self-interest has trumped responsible action.
And now the children are revolting. Their inspiration is a precocious 16-year-old Swede, Greta Thunberg. She began a solo ‘school strike’ outside the parliament buildings in Stockholm last September and her actions have sparked an international movement. Over 32,000 children walked out of school to strike in Brussels recently, with similar protests occurring from Australia to Ireland, albeit on a smaller scale.
The pint-sized Thunberg is a formidable public speaker. She berated the UN’s climate conference in Poland in November for its inaction and then took the train to Switzerland to sock it to the super-rich at the recent World Economic Forum.
Thunberg spelled it out to a roomful of Davos elites, “Some people, some companies, some decision-makers have known exactly what priceless values they have been sacrificing to continue making unimaginable amounts of money. And I think many of you here today belong to that group of people.”
Bono visibly squirmed in his chair before leading an awkward round of applause.
The teenage firebrand has cleverly avoided pleading with adults to ‘sort out’ the climate crisis. Thunberg correctly assumes today’s political and business leaders are too busy fumbling in the greasy till to even consider preserving the world for the next generation. To the public, she says, “I don’t want you to be hopeful, I want you to panic.”
Politicians haven’t a clue how to deal with the school strikes. British PM Theresa May missed the point spectacularly, criticising strikers for “increasing teachers’ workloads and wasting lesson time”. In Ireland, student climate protests have taken place outside Dáil Éireann every week since December. Media coverage has been slim to none.
Next month, the school strike goes up a gear, with tens of thousands of students from primary, secondary and third level taking to the streets on Friday March 15 as part of a global day of protest.
Leo Varadkar, Richard Bruton and the lobbyists who pull their strings have proven time and again there is barely a fig leaf between them to cover their shameful inaction on climate change. It has taken the kids to show they have no clothes.