can Greta Thunberg save the world?

Yes, I do think Greta Thunberg will save the world. But not alone. 

I’m unashamedly Greta’s biggest fan. She’s Swedish. A huge climate change advocate. Vegan. A fellow Aspie. #aspiepower

Here’s the problem: one teenage Swede isn’t going to save the world. At least bring in ABBA for some background music.

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All jokes aside, the crisis looming in our immediate view is downright scary. If you aren’t panicking, that’s a problem. If climate change isn’t somewhat on your mind on a regular basis, that’s a problem.

We’re talking about the fate of the living world itself. Everything, everyone. We will all die. At the rate we’re going, this will happen in our lifetime. For Greta Thunberg to save the world, we need a reality check.

put it into perspective.

In one of my seminary classes, we did an activity where two people sat across from one another. One partner represents someone in the present, and the other represents your descendant seven generations from now. For context, we’re seven generations beyond legalized slavery in the American South.

A major question posed to the present-day person was this: If you know the truth of the climate crisis, did you do enough? If not, why?

I was the one listening “in the future,” and in my head, I honestly thought, As someone seven generations from now, I probably won’t exist. The pessimism and assumed realism in that conclusion sank in. And it hurt. It still hurts.

The literal weight of the world seems to be riding on one girl’s shoulders. For Greta Thunberg to save the world, that means we will all save the world. She’s simply a catalyst. A wake-up call, or a slap in the face.

we need more than Greta.

Greta Thunberg can save the world…if we recognize all the major players.

Thunberg is getting lots of attention, which is amazing. Some people will inevitably criticize her and essentially stoop to the level of bullying a teenager, but the majority of us are standing in solidarity.

It makes sense why “Greta Thunberg” and “save the world” go hand in hand: she’s white, from a Nordic European country, privileged enough to get the media attention worthy of such a large cause.

Even though so many other young people have made similar strides, they haven’t received the same recognition. It’s understandable based off our culture and society, but we really need to share the love and attention. 

Not only outspoken individuals, but also larger and smaller players deserve a kudos. The ones who are the most responsible for the impending disaster and the most responsible for reversing the damage are large corporations. Hello, capitalism.

The entire structure of capitalism inevitably leads to environmental destruction as we continually strive easier, faster, cheaper. That creates more waste. Unless you go outside that economic system, we’re screwed. 

the true culprits.

Here’s the kicker: the elite who are sucking the 99% of the world dry of any resources or rights have the power to make a difference. They are the true culprits of climate change. This system is unsustainable and requires inequality to function.

Again a result of capitalism, but we as consumers are the ones meant to feel guilty about global warming while those actually responsible can continue business as usual.

Greta Thunberg is edging us to that reality check, but this post-industrial mindset is blind to the alternatives. So much so that we must shout and plead to receive any recognition. Capitalism has taken control of virtually every aspect of our lives, and too many of us have yet to fully grasp that.

Our responsibility, then, to ensure Greta Thunberg can save the world, is to refuse existing as bystanders as the environment dies, floods, and heats up around us. The rickety framework we stand on will fall, sooner rather than later.

help Greta Thunberg save the world.

If we continue the status quo, accept things as they are, and fully know our privilege to choose otherwise, then you are part of the problem.

We don’t blame the impoverished, for they’re losing resources every day. We don’t blame our neighbors, who are in the same boat as you. 

Throw out the idea of blame altogether in the realm of our privileged lives. There’s always something you can do. Greta cannot save the world just as much as you or I cannot save the world. 

Where true world-saving lies is an entire overhaul of society as we know it. Greta cannot do that. But we all can. 

Think of how you “vote” every single day, not just that one Tuesday in November (which you better vote on, too). Where do we draw our attention? Where do we spend our money? What kind of industry are we working for? 

The products you use, what companies are you supporting? Do you realize there’s only six companies ruling every piece of media we consume? If you dig deep enough, I doubt you’d support the manufacturing processes they use. If we cannot overthrow capitalism in a day, we can at least use it to our advantage.

act like an activist.

Many people are turned off by so-called “activists” like Greta Thunberg. They’re too loud, preachy, and the average joe cannot spend every day standing in the streets demanding everybody to do more.

That’s an often-true stereotype, but activism can morph into so many forms. An activist’s life is one that is conscious of its impact and its choices, unashamed to step outside the norm for what they believe in.

We need more activists. Greta Thunberg cannot save the world on her own. Sure, maybe you stood outside for the Global Climate Strike, but what did you do the day after that? 

Please continue to recycle and use reusable everything. But riddle me this: are you holding the key stakeholders accountable, too? Are you taking your reusable produce bags to a grocery chain like Walmart?

Far too many people, likely living in food deserts with limited food stamps, have no choice. But if you do, then choose wisely. The only way we can truly uplift the do-gooders is by voting for them at the polls and at the cash registers.

Help Greta Thunberg save the world. At this point, we have no other option.

Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie

Author: Allie

A flower child passionate about faith, social justice, and love.

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