I wrote this two years ago when Thunberg was 16 and after she spoke at the UN. It was a post on Facebook and a short thread on Twitter. The Facebook version is suddenly trending again and my DMs are full of angry Climate Denialists (and helpful editors who missed the date on the post and are busy telling me I got her age wrong), all of which means it will likely get taken down by FB's algorithm.
So, I'm reposting an updated version here as a recap.
You hate her.
Oh, do you hate her.
This brash, outspoken 18-year-old kid.
That's how you see her, as a kid. A child. How dare she act more adult than you, right?
You hate her. Because you can't understand her. And that makes you afraid. And so you have to make her into a monster.
Most of all, you hate her because she's from the future.
That's right, the future.
And not just any future, she's from your future. The one you made. A future that is the direct consequence of your lack of action.
She's the ghost of your Christmas Future.
That's the part that really gets you. That, right there.
See? You're that guy. Privileged. Entitled. Self-centered. Spoiled. You're the guy who throws your trash out the window into somebody else's front yard and drives away without slowing down. Without a second thought.
Somebody will pick it up.
Somebody. Not you.
You drive down the road and see all the garbage in the ditch and you make that tsking sound and roll your eyes. Look at that mess. Somebody should clean that up. Somebody. Not you.
Yep, that's you. Leaving your garbage for somebody else. Yeah, that's you. That's how you see climate change. A mess, for somebody else to clean up. The future's problem. Somebody. Not you.
See, you figured you'd be dead, right?
That's right, you'd be dead by the time the bill came due and you wouldn't have to pay.
You were going to stiff the future for the check.
Somebody would clean up your mess. Somebody. Not you.
Except, here she is. Travelled in time. The future. In your face. Bold. Brash. Pigtailed and pissed off.
You threw your trash out the window into her front yard and she caught you, got your license plate number and tracked you down. Here she is on your front porch, with your garbage in hand demanding that you clean it up. That you take responsibility for your own mess.
And you're not even ashamed. Are you?
You're not embarrassed. You're not ashamed for getting caught. Because you don't have that much self-awareness, that much self-respect.
Instead, you're mad. This fucking kid. How dare she rub your nose in what a selfish, self-centered son of a bitch you are, right?
That's what you're mad about.
That you got caught.
You thought you'd never be held to account. You thought the future would never show up on your doorstep. You were gonna escape. Ha ha! Your problem, bitches! Somebody would clean it up. Somebody. Not you.
But here she is. Arrived from the future. Demanding you pay your own check. And boy oh boy, does that make you mad.
Oh, how you hate her.
You hate her because she has the courage to stand up when others won't.
You hate her because she has the guts to face down the entire world without flinching.
You hate her, because you know she's right.
You hate her because she's more of an adult than you'll ever be.
Most of all, you hate her because she's from the future and she's fearless.
And you aren't.
As we've watched climate change continue to hit us repeatedly over our heads, this piece is even more powerful to me now than when I first read it, and it moved me then as well.ReplyDelete
You are gifted, Jim, with a writing ability and insight to bore directly to the core of an issue. That's why I follow you. While I understand what you do is stressful, I appreciate your voice so long as you can lend it to the world.
My thoughts exactly. I write. But not like this. Powerful!Delete
Cairenn speaks for me here, as well. Or, as the younger generation might say, "This—100% this." A powerful and indisputable piece, by a tremendously gifted writer. Thank you, Jim.Delete
The truth speaks—now and in the future!Delete
Great essay then and now. Sadly many are not willing to receive her vitally important message.ReplyDelete
I miss the ratings where we can ❤️ the truth you write so well.ReplyDelete
Not to mention the range of reactions from "You are a god!" to "Squirrel!"Delete
Very well said bud.ReplyDelete
Excellent post, relevant then and unfortunately still is.ReplyDelete
You forgot one: They hate her because she is a teenaged girl.ReplyDelete
So much this.Delete
Nail, meet hammer!Delete
"Because she is a teenaged girl." Yes.Delete
That she is a girl is enough.Delete
Powerful, in these times, is it not a surprise that a large percentage of these same climate deniers are party to the anti vaxxers, self centered, selfish, unaware and reluctant to own their responsibility as an active citizen for the greater good of our country. Always that 25 to 30 percent who fails the country. Today there are so many boundaries that once displayed the honor and respect of America that have been broken.ReplyDelete
We need more Gretas in the world.
I have noticed that Gretas detracters only insult her, they post no counter arguments.ReplyDelete
I am having several on line conversations about this and not one person has said anything that wasn't an insult. I group them with flat earthers and anti-vaxxers now.
Ex is one of those detractors. Calls her all sorts of names, just as he does other strong women! Used to do the same to me.Delete
I've seen a few things that weren't *technically* insults, on Quora - but those things were not reasonable. Things like "why doesn't she plant trees" - except she's Swedish, and from what I looked up about how Sweden handles tree-planting, it comes across as very much a municipal affair, and like most Europeans, Greta would find a person individually fixing municipal affairs to be a strange thing (in fact, far as I can tell, as affluent countries go that idea is peculiar to Americans). And the other not-technically-insult is comparing her negatively to Boyan Slatt - which is also unfair because it takes all kinds - the geniuses AND the activists. And that one is one where the line between insult and not-insult is blurry at best.Delete
Really great post. Thanks.ReplyDelete
We’re on a runaway train on a dead end track. Any mitigation that might have helped counter the effects of climate change should have been done decades ago. As it turns out, the motherf**king hippies were right!ReplyDelete
Forever and ever amen. Jim, you use the best words to throw rocks and I appreciate reading it allReplyDelete
Thank you, sir, for telling us what we need to hear and why others don't understand the significance.ReplyDelete
Spot on. I visualize so many people I know when reading this. Thank you for your writing.ReplyDelete
What platform are you using to publish your stonekettle site?ReplyDelete
It seems to be working well taking the real commentary off of FB.
It's a horrible situation where a teenager is vilified for speaking the truth. Far too many people don't want to hear it.ReplyDelete
She knows what she is talking about and that makes adults very scared.ReplyDelete
you help keep me saneReplyDelete
Where will the rich hide?ReplyDelete
"Come mothers and fathers throughout the landReplyDelete
And don't criticize what you can't understand
Your sons and your daughters are beyond your command
Your old road is rapidly aging
Please get out of the new one if you can't lend your hand
For the times, they are a-changin'"...
What you have said is so true. I'm 77 years old with a degree in geology and I fully understand what we have done to the space ship we call earth. Earth is dyeing and there will be no place for humans to run tooReplyDelete
. The plant will survive, but man may not and this will not be a great loss. Next time around Mother Nature will be more carful in her experiments.
I so appreciate you standing up for this young woman. I have been stunned by the vitriol against her. You lay it out perfectly. Thank you, I always enjoy your posts, Jim. I also support you taking needed breaks, I appreciate you modeling that for those who are burning out trying to push back against the insanity of these times. What you are doing is so necessary but it takes a toll. Thank you for your courage and perseverance, but please do continue to take care of you.ReplyDelete
I think "they" all thought she would go away. Go back to school. But she has started and continues to fight on! What an amazing and brave person she is.ReplyDelete
What a glorious piece you wrote, Jim. Nailed it, as you almost always do. And then, I turn to the news, where our elected "representatives" are pissing away this latest opportunity to actually *do something*. All for the power they imagine they have.ReplyDelete
What a horrible situation we have put our young people in. Greta is vilified as she faces off against the very powerful in the fight against climate change. The Parkland kids are routinely attacked as they work for gun control legislation. Too many adults throw their hands up and expect Gen Z to clean up our messes.ReplyDelete
I forget what I saw this on, but some gun store out West was selling targets that featured artists renderings, instead of photos, because with drawings the seller can claim it's not actually a picture of the leftie it represents, and so can't get in trouble, of people like AOC and Greta Thunberg. Disgusting. I think it might have been in Colorado.ReplyDelete
It’s a CA gun company, and it’s not just AOC and GT. They include Soros and other lefty lizard-people baby-eating child-molesting commie Nazis. Posting from my phone so I can’t do a proper touch and go link. Just do a google search for “Newsweek aoc gun target” and it should be the first link up.Delete
Apologies if this gets posted twice. I hit preview on the first attempt and it disappeared into a black hole.
And most importantly of all. Greta don't hold up solutions for ya. She says she is just a kid and don't have the solution to fix this, she is instead demanding that the people in charge do something, based on science. Imgaine that, just demanding something without a recipie or a solution how. The nerve on that girl.ReplyDelete
You go Greta and then we have to act, by voting for the right people, buying the good products, support sustainability, stop buying shit we don't need with money we don't have.
True...all true. She's pissed off and she's right to be pissed off, and her critics are imbeciles. But what of it? It doesn't make any difference. Her outrage, as righteous as it is, isn't going to move the needle in any meaningful way. The problem is too big now. Mitigate carbon emissions? Develop practical carbon capture tech? Plant some trees? What are we waiting for? Do it! But it won't matter, because that's not going to change the trajectory of the disaster we're sailing into. There are too many people, who use too much stuff, and that's just in the First World. Now, try telling the 1.3 billion people living in multidimensional poverty to stop wanting the things we take for granted. Good luck! The solution, if one is even possible now, is to stop using stuff...and building stuff...and making more people. George Monbiot's piece in The Guardian the other day pretty much encapsulates the dilemma: "It is simply not possible to carry on at the current level of economic activity without destroying the environment. There is a box labelled “climate”, in which politicians discuss the climate crisis. There is a box named “biodiversity”, in which they discuss the biodiversity crisis. There are other boxes, such as pollution, deforestation, overfishing and soil loss, gathering dust in our planet’s lost property department. But they all contain aspects of one crisis that we have divided up to make it comprehensible. The categories the human brain creates to make sense of its surroundings are not, as Immanuel Kant observed, the “thing-in-itself”. They describe artefacts of our perceptions rather than the world."ReplyDelete
The parties in the position to anything about all of these interconnected crises are incapable of doing anything about any one of them.
Greta, the Cassandra of our time, in all of her justifiable fury, has a powerful, resonant "message", but the Greeks are already inside the gates.
If expressions of futility are unwelcome, I can understand that. For my part, I've lost faith in humanity's collective will to undo or even delay the devastation we're witnessing and are a part of. I've lost faith, but not hope, and I'd rather have hope anyway.
Your essay holds up well over time. Funny that it still gets under the idiots skin after two years.ReplyDelete
So, 6,000 years ago (again, work with me here) the Creator made a garden. Then, the Creator made two critters to tend to the garden. That's in the book they like to pound people over the head with. It's in there first, with the six-day thing - before the boat and rain and all the begats and "Let My People Go" (Charlton Heston again? Sorry.). I don't get the Federalists woo-woo paganism and animism, and witchcraft and stuff. Tending to the garden is why we are here. It's our JOB.ReplyDelete
An Episcopal priest friend is in charge of Creation Care in the AZ diocese and is training different congregations to do what they can to help sustain the earth. She's walking the talk. Where I live in NM, there is a community who is really working for sustainability, and then there is the "traditional values" bunch whose 'values" seem to be dumping trash anywhere they want, putting impromptu shooting ranges in the national forests and not policing up their shells and targets and riding their ATVs through streambeds and breaking them down. And letting their goddam sacred cattle roam loose.Delete
Humans actually got thrown out of the garden... and therefore we take revenge upon it...instead on facing the horrible truth that we are the problem... all according to the God some people believe inDelete
It's even better the second time around, Jim. You always know just how to cut to the heart of it.ReplyDelete
Spot on, Jim, today as then. I know people who have nothing but contempt for Ms. Thunberg, saying she's just an attention-whoring puppet for ideas her parents pumped into her, that she's annoying and arrogant and "uppity." I will be bookmarking this for future reference then next time I encounter someone stupid enough to say these things.ReplyDelete
Excellent essay then and now! Keep coming !!ReplyDelete
Soon I'm going to become a patron!!
There is a song in here somewhere. I hope Arlo Guthrie reads this.ReplyDelete
This is one of my favorites. Every word of this.ReplyDelete
This essay should be read by every American.ReplyDelete
As always, you are speaking hard truths those in charge do not want to be told, and also to everyone with the mindset of letting the future sort things out.ReplyDelete
If you don't already know of James Fell on Facebook you should look him up. You share similar takes on these topics.ReplyDelete
The rage Thurnberg faced in Canada was absolutely atrocious, including threatening jobsite posters in Alberta.
Greta remains a breath of fresh air. In the meantime, the climate trolls are invading the comments on comic pages.ReplyDelete
Some things never change. They just get older. And they don’t age gracefully. Thanks, Jim, for keeping this up to date and in our faces.ReplyDelete
I hope you are right about her being from the future, that means we still may have a chance but has to start now. 3.5 Trillion will seem like a bargain if we wait any longer.ReplyDelete
A spectacular read. Again.ReplyDelete