Greta - Voice of the Planet

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic


 

Joseph Fourier, a French Mathematician, in 1824  studied heat waves to a great extent. In his findings, he understood the parity that existed in the temperature on earth and in the outer space. In outer space or vacuum the temperature can get as low as negative 270 degree Celsius. While on earth, atmosphere lets in visible light, the surface of earth absorbs it and emits Infrared radiations back into the atmosphere. This results an increase in surface temperature, one of those perfect combinations, that makes life possible here on earth, the only habitable place across the millions and billions of light years in the Universe. The human activities have added to this cause and even more so lately, with emissions of Carbon and Methane that gets trapped in the atmosphere, causing an increase in earth’s surface, more than what is desirable. This effect is called the Greenhouse effect, which results in Global warming. The undesirable symptoms and changes brought by this is the Climate Change. This is less of a story and more of a narrative that could well be part of each of our lives sooner or later. But joining the hands of many more who were in this battle against the greatest threat for the future generation, and being the voice of the planet by fearlessly criticising the leaders who had prompted empty promises, is a 17 year old girl from Sweden, Greta Thunberg.

 

Greta was born on 3 January 2003 in Stockholm, Sweden. Her father is an actor and mother, an opera singer. Greta addresses herself as a nerd who can have laser point focus if interested in something. At an early age of 8 years, Greta first heard about global warming, and how it was a human manifestation, by the way we lived, which had brought human species and many other life forms on earth to a crossroad. As she stood at the crossroad, she was surprised as to why isn’t this prioritised by many, why aren’t people talking about this, how can the world continue to go on knowing it’s doomsday was coming if we didn’t change the way we lived. At that crossroad, she knew which path to take, but she was baffled by the decisions of many others who had chosen a different path. At the age of 11, Greta fell ill, succumbed to depression, she had stopped talking, eating, and in a matter of a couple of months, she had lost 10 kgs of body weight. Later she was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, OCD and Selective Mutism, which meant, driven by social anxiety, she could speak only when it was sheer necessity. But Greta felt that the autistic ones are the normal ones as they couldn’t participate in the social game that involved the spectrum of lies and manipulations, those that the rest of the humans were fond of. Due to this, she didn’t recognise her Aspergers Syndrome as an illness, but rather as a gift, with the power to not just see the right & wrong, but to also completely understand it and accept it in the form of truth. 

Greta changed her lifestyle by going vegan, up cycling and giving up flying. In 2019, the UN reported that with an expected population propulsion to about 10 billion in the next 30 years, switching to more of a plant based diet is most vital to reduce the amount of one's carbon footprint. Even excessive dairy farming can be a cause for environmental degradation, as nearly 85% of the Soy produced in Amazon is used to feed the livestocks. The Amazon rainforest, being one of the largest Carbon sink, due to human activities, could be the tipping over factor when it comes to Climate Change. Even Cow’s dung, which contains methane, which is used as a gas fuel in many households of rural parts of India, can even be a fuel for Global warming. This is because methane is 84 times more potent than CO2. Problem lies in artificially inseminating Cows and then killing them, which involves over 300 million cows slaughtered every year, just for human pleasure. Even as for dairy goes, one glass of milk takes up nearly 120 litres of water, ten times more than that required for plant based milk. Even the land usage is significantly higher for Dairy. Oxford studies have shown that producing a glass of dairy milk results in more than three times the greenhouse gas emissions of any non-dairy milks. But apart from the livestocks, even oil companies are a huge devastation for Climate, with nearly a 100 barrels of oil being used on up each single day. Even the ocean’s bed form one of the largest Carbon sink, but sadly due to excessive fishing the natural food cycle within the ocean is tampered, allowing fungus (which the fishes prey on) to settle down on the plants underneath and slowly seizing the life out of the plants that formed the sink for CO2. This was one of the main reasons for the Australian bushfires in their last summer.

In August 2018, Greta left her school and protested outside Swedish parliament, in solidarity by just holding a board that read ’Skolstrejk for Klimatet’, which translates to ‘School strike for Climate’.  That summer Sweden had the record hottest summer in the last 262 years. Later her plenary talk in the 2018 United Nations Climate Change Conference went viral. In 2019, Greta took a sabbatical year from school and sailed for 15 days across the Atlantic to the UN Climate Action Summit, held in New York City. There, on 23 September 2019, Greta struck a massive chord, when she yelled, ‘How dare you?’, pointing at the political leaders who come to young people for solutions, while all they can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. The ripples of the Summit and the voice of Greta, crossed all the boundaries, as nearly 7 Million people, in over 185 countries participated in rally waking up people and slapping at the faces who believed Climate Change is a hoax. The impact of rallies are seen, with people becoming aware and which pressured the government. This is because, as important as it is in planting trees, it’s also important we be aware of government plans, as it takes them just a few signatures to sanction a Corporate or an industrial project, that may lead to deforestation. A local example was, preventing the government from cutting down Cubbon park for construction of a steel bridge. Democracy, if rightly understood, can even be the queen, and not just a pawn. 

Greta has been recipient of many honours and even few critics, mainly for creating an alarm that might stir up the routine life of few youngsters. But in history, many children’s IQ has been a celebratory point. Greta though reflects on having a good IQ, but definitely has a high EQ, which is the silver lining of her syndrome. So someone being critiqued for having a high EQ, is an act that should be eventually be retrieved.  Her honours include, Honorary Fellowship of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society, Time magazine’s 100 most influential people, Two consecutive nominations for Nobel Peace Prize (2019 and 2020), Nature’s 10 - a list of 10 people who mattered in Science released by the prestigious Nature Journal. Inclusion in the Forbes list of The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women in 2019, the youngest Time Person of the Year, and many more. Greta, when thinking of her future, finds it hard to see beyond the year 2050. What we do and do not do, will have its effects on the next generations (our children and grandchildren) that cannot be undone in the future, and they will question us, what were we doing when we had time, when we were witnessing occasional flooding, bushfire, melting of ice caps at the poles, gradually and steadily becoming more and more frequent. Do we have to wait for exponential growth before we react, haven’t we witnessed enough of exponential growth in 2020? We have foolishly cursed the lifeless number 2020, when each of the crises witnessed, can be traced back to a human activity. Be it discrimination against innocent animals and the way they were treated or discrimination against a fellow human being, it’s not an artefact of the year, but a poor judgement made by few unconscionable minds. Greta tells that we have had pep talk for the last 3 decades, with even having the solutions for the Crisis in hand, but it’s useless until we act, our actions are what will fetch us hope. With more inventions and innovations coded into the World of Science, we think we have a control over things. But each discovery, even made today, tells more about the undiscovered part. So, in a sense, Discovery is like a peek at the truth, and may not be the entire truth. The undiscovered part may be the hidden truth. The point is there are things we can tame, but just by knowing science, doesn’t mean we can tame nature, all we can do is understand her more day by day, having her as the guiding principle to the truth. That’s the purpose of science, and not to fix human mess! So science doesn’t have to save the ‘Guiding principle’. We humans have to, by pulling back our shenanigans, and the ‘Guiding principle’ will keep the science alive.

 

At the UN Climate Action Summit. 

This is all wrong. I shouldn't be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you! You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. And yet I'm one of the lucky ones. People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!

- Greta Thunberg

 

 

 

References : Our Planet, Oxford, IATP, GRAIN, TED, Wiki.

 

 

 


Submitted: October 21, 2020

© Copyright 2020 maheshaudupa. All rights reserved.

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moa rider

Well now maheshaudupa, I began my training as a forester in 1962 when there was a lot of fear about an approaching ice age. We were all very worried about it. It's plain to see it didn't happen, but it demonstrate that climate change is a thing that happens and continues to do so. In my role as a forseter I have been responsible for planting millions of trees both in New Zealand and Africa and to be successful you need to understand nature. Part of my job was to take weather readings and I can tell you nothing has changed significantly in the last 60 years according to my figures. Carbon dioxide is a gas that plants, including trees need to survive and without the gas and the greenhouse gases, out climate would be similar to that of the moon. Carbon is being used by the UN to gather a tax called carbon credits which are traded and a lot of money changes hand. The UN is a political organisation so add politics and money and you don't always end up with good. When the media talk about climate change, you see pictures of factory chimeys. Smoke is mainly water vapour, pollutants and a carbon monoxide. When you see a skinny half dead polar bear look on the WWF website and you will find that polar bear numbers good and they are healthy. When you see walrusses jumping off a cliff 'committing suicide' because of climate change, look further and you will see polar bears stalking them, they were fleeing to safety. I think your quote about methane is wrong from memory it is 46 times as 'bad' as carbon dioxide. But did you know termite emit huge amounts of methane? The wildebeest of Africa and buffalos of the American prairies have been emiting methane for centuries. Many forest fires including those in Australia happen from time to time naturally as a way of renewal. In Australia the trees are Eucalyptus and their leaves contain flamable oils, It is a dry place so when a fire starts, it can be devastating. I live on the East coast and while I haven't measured it, the sea is the same as it was 60 years ago. There is coastal erosion, but that's because gravels in the rivers are used for building and roads so none reaches the coast, which would otherwise protect the coastline. I have nothing against Greta, young peaple should speak out about what concerns them. Carbon dioxide isn't the world problem, pollution is. We are squandering resources, creating too much rubbish and have nowhere adequate to put it. Clothing is made from oil-based synthetics while our farmers are unable to sell wool - those synthetics don't rot away, so are as bad as plastic. So there's a lot wrong for young people to focus on. Usianguke

Fri, October 23rd, 2020 1:03am

Author
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Thank you Moa rider for taking the time to share your thoughts and experiences. You have definitely given few valuable inputs, with which I could do a further thorough research and turns out, few of those points are debatable. Firstly I want to make it clear that, I intended to talk more about the anthropogenic effects. So, termites although can be accounted as a natural cause for methane’s release, as they are not bred for human purpose/pleasure, termites do have a built in system that filters the greenhouse gas before its released into the atmosphere. The system that talked about here is a group of bacteria called methanotrophs, that lives in soil and are naturally found in the mounds of termite. These bacterias feed on methane as their primal source of energy. These are based on the studies made by School of Ecosystem and Forest Sciences at the University of Melbourne. On comparison of methane and CO2 front, backed by article on National Geography, turns out we both are right, as the metric scale can depend both on the timescale and the timeframe it’s measured in. One has a long-term view & the other has a short-term view, but with a steeper increase of greenhouse gases, we may have to focus more on the short term view. Though I didn’t speak about Polar bears, but since you brought it up, the matter is more of on a grey area, and cannot be dubbed generally as good (although few specifics are good), as 8 populations data are not big enough to arrive at a conclusion and sourcing WWF, the population is predicted to decline by 30% by the end of century. With Artic melting, and if we don’t change our lifestyle, soon, it would be absurd to use the words ’polar bear’ and ‘good’ in the same sentence. Regarding Bushfire, the geographic features of Australia with the bad influence of Eucalyptus has resulted in bushfire from time to time, but no bushfire in the history of Australia has been this devastating, and giving the number of fatalities and sector of land burnt. I only vouched on UN, for the claim they made to switch to a more plant based diet, which I doubt has any political propaganda, that would harm the planet. But on political grounds, human nexus, especially that of politicians and businessmen can work in a way that could be deceiving us in believing of a general good. Which is why I vouch and support Greta, in bringing such awareness. As for your other comments, I either haven’t talked about it (few of which I do agree with), or have written something that wouldn’t contradict it, except the obvious, where you have said, ‘nothing has changed significantly in the last 60 years’… There are many a source that would indicate otherwise.

Fri, October 23rd, 2020 5:31am

moa rider

You are right we have to change what we have been doing. If you look at YouTube and type 'trucks dumping rubbish into river' you will see what I mean. Most times when you see storms and fires on television the news reader will say it is 'unprcedented', but look further and it has happened before. In my life, where I live, the worst drought was 1959 -65, we've had nothing like that since. The strongest wind was 1 Augusr 1975, the most severe flood was September 1968 and the heavest snowstorm was 1948. If you understand Eucalyptus forest, falling leaves and bark adds to the fuel load. The indigenous peoples used to burn the areas on a regular basis, Nowaday as a conservation measure preventive burning isn't done so you have a buildup of fuel. In the old days they thought fires could start spontaneously, conditions were so hot - these days the idea has been scotched but it indicates how volitile conditions can be. If you check papers past, there are reports of no ice in the Arctic and other times massive amounts. There are times when the Thames has frozen over and Rhine has dried up. We have to understand our species evolved at time the the climate suited us and because the planet has the ability to change, those conditions are unlikely to remain forever. We aren't being kind enough to the planet and need to be more sustainable, but I repeat, carbon dioxide is our friend - we pump it into out greenhouses to enhance growth. But I'm very glad you are interested, and agree there's a lot that needs sorted out. Usianguke

Fri, October 23rd, 2020 9:40pm

Author
Reply

Yes, greenhouse gas to an extent is our friend, what you illustrated with the example of moon in your first comment, I have illustrated the same regarding the greenhouse gas with an extended example of outer space in the beginning of my article. Hands down on challenges regarding the disposal system. But the times, you are comparing to where the environment has healed itself, are the times that human population was less, and more importantly human activities which could have an impact were even far less. The population is increasing steadily and in next 30 years, population may reach to a number near 10Billion. But the ironic thing is, the planet will still heal itself, no doubt, but it will take a huge toll on humans in terms lives & lifestyle both and even few vegetations and animals. So, the irony is, when say we need to save planet, we ultimately intend to save ourself, with may be few wildlife! Chernobyl is the classic example that supports this, where the humans are not allowed for next few thousands of years, the vegetation including few wildlife has returned and are doing great in that regard.
I am not sure if we can make a few local observations and arrive at a global estimation about 'global' warming. It is just a matter of time and we cannot work efficiently if time becomes one of the resources! Take the current Pandemic. At some point it was an epidemic at one corner of the world. Now with economic crash, we have turned our focus from people dying to people's need not being met. Can't even tell what is right and what is wrong anymore? And with all our hopes on vaccine, time has become the resources that we seem be to be running out of, due to the inefficiency of organisation is the work force and obviously due to the clinical challenges. But I want say, I'm happy we are having a conversation and we should remember that, though the point of view may be different, but the purpose is almost the same.

Fri, October 23rd, 2020 10:43pm

moa rider

Yes it's always good to share ideas and be civil. You seem to enjoy research and I'm pleased you check on what I have to say. Caring of our planet and conserving resources is a different thing to climate change. But mentioning resources, tree are one of our only renewable resources and contributors to our environment. So what can I say to you that might suggest that Greta is slightly off track? Figures that IPCC use have been manipulated for their benefit. Even back as far as 1950 there were no golbal thermometers - there's lots of missing data. Where thermometers stand today, the vicinity has changed - tar seal, buildings, trees all have changed the microclimate around the stations, so the record is incorrect. There is a thin membrane inside the shell of an egg, sometimes if you are rearing hens, you will find an egg without a shell. It is similar to this planet. Poke it and it will bulge somewhere else. In other words, the earth's crust is plastic. 12000 years ago there was nearly two kilometres of ice over the northern hemisphere. The weight of it pushed the crust down. Now the ice has gone Scotland and Scandanavia are still rising out of the sea, as that happens, thinking of that egg, some areas of earth will sink. And then there is continental drift. Because of it the Himalayers are rising. There is evidence there was forest on Antarctica - does that mean there was a time when there was no ice on the south pole? Or did the continent drift there. The answer is simply a matter of opinion. I told you my observations reveal there has been no sea level change in my back yard -I go by what I see. Sea water level is constant over the Earth's surface it can't be higher or lower than other places without a reason. There are many factors that dictate climate. Right now there are no sun spots - what does that do? The sun is a prime factor in our climate and that factor is beyond our control. Weather forecasts here are around 20% wrong, despite the extensive technology. Because I have experience my forecasts are just as acurate by looking at the clouds and checking the barometer, so how can anyone as what the climate will be in a hundred years time? There's plenty more, but on Greta: She said we, the older people on this Earth, had spoiled her childhood. I would say her puppeteers have done that! At no time in history have children been better off! They have more food, more free time, more technology, better transport and better heath outcomes, mostly through the efforts my generation. The question is, why aren't they enjoying it? My attitude is to be mistustful when there's money in carbon. Good luck with your research. Usianguke

Sat, October 24th, 2020 8:37pm

Author
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Okay, that's a lot to address, and seems like we are going in circles or its just not converging to any point. But I do feel like continuing this dialogue, given the experience you have had in the field. But at the same time I have done and have been doing some research on this, and though scientific methods can be a bit skewed, due to the experimental error or human manipulation, but numerous scientific sources cannot be wrong about one thing. And as stand by what I said earlier regarding making a global estimation based on local observations. Sun spots may be irregular, but more importantly the sun has been cooling down at a gradually pace for past 70 years nearly deceasing by 0.5 degree Celsius and is continuing to do so. And coming to Greta, she is young, her passion is gonna spur out, especially when its regarding social movements, where it's hard to hold back, be it the tiniest of things and by all means you wanna shout out, what you want to say. So, if you notice she primarily targets the puppeteers itself, just that she is befuddled by not many speaking against it. and even more so her voice has united and awakened many people, including people in power. But all said, I get the fact that it may rub one off in a wrong way, but we just got to hold the ground for now, and I have at most respect for people who even plant a single tree and take care for it. So you can imagine the admiration I have towards you, and it can be a matter of opinion, but soon the subjective matter can turn into objective reality. Hence the voice, a call to wake up.

Mon, October 26th, 2020 4:27am

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