In December of 2018 a 15 year old autistic teenager from Sweden, Greta Thunberg, stood on stage and schooled me about the climate crisis. She educated my generation. She scolded world leaders. She challenged the planet. I could see in her face and hear in her words that being on stage, speaking to the TEDx-Stockholm audience, came at a high personal price. And my hopeless, wizened heart cracked open.
For the first time in a long time I felt compelled, not to hope, but to take action in the face of hopelessness. Greta Thunberg called me to a cause I had given up on, demanding a decade of my life.
Go and watch here. It’s important. I will wait. Done? Good.
In February of 2019 the government of the European Union committed 25% of their spending over a period of seven years, towards mitigating the climate crisis, committing close to $1 trillion dollars. Why? Because Greta Thunberg schooled the leaders of Europe, and they listened. One autistic Swedish girl has altered the course of human history within six months. Within seven months, she has been nominated for the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize.
We have a decade. Then a tipping point. Action is now. But what does that even mean? How do busy people living busy city lives make room for the drastic lifestyle changes required by all of us? I am a 62 year old desert woman who lives in the middle of nowhere, on the edge of forever. It already gets to be well into the 120s in the summer. How will I survive increasing temperatures? This is very personal.
Greta Thunberg took her first step alone when she left school to strike for climate justice. Six months later, she convinced world leaders to seriously address the growing crisis and put its money where its mouth is. She is sixteen now, and she is just getting started.
Greta has a big ask for each and every one of us. But what can this one, lone desert woman do?
Here is what I came up with. For the next decade, I will PANIC. For her. I will treat the climate crisis like the crisis it is. I will set aside “HOPE”, in favor of action. I will think outside the box. I will write. I will get the word out. I will encourage others to take their own massive action to the best of their ability. I will analyze my life and my carbon footprint and I will change.
As a member of the California National Party, I am aligned with the idea of working locally for solutions to local and global problems. I believe that those people affected by any given problem need to participate in, and be a voice for, any and all solutions.
As a writer for the California National Party, it means that I will be looking at the Climate Crisis through the filter of our Core Values. I will be following California stories as we grapple with the droughts, fires, floods and sea level rise that are now part of our collective, seasonal lives.
It’s my intention to write regularly, though not exclusively, about the Climate Crisis. I begin with this 3 Part Series. Part two will explore where we stand in California, exploring the traditional climate concerns of emissions and pollutants, as well as specific ways Californians address our “special” climate issues: droughts, wildfires, mudslides, and sea level rise. Part Three covers local and personal responses to the climate crisis. It is where our lives intersect with the wider world that individual action is taken. Also, what would it look like to personally reduce one’s carbon footprint?
Please join me in the fight. Set aside regular and consistent time to turn this Climate Crisis around. We have a decade. Let’s honor a young woman who demands a world that her children and grandchildren can live in. Greta, I have answered your call. This decade is for you.
Image copyright World Economic Forum / Mattias Nutt