By Carmen Diaz Perez
“If mother nature were a bank, it would have been already saved.” These wise words were spoken by Uruguayan journalist, writer, and novelist Eduardo Galeano, and without a doubt, this quote represents a cruel truth. In today’s world, the material is more valuable than spiritual. We are no longer human. We are more robots giving value to the insignificant. We do not provide the required importance to climate change when it is the most challenging and catastrophic problem that human beings need to face. Global warming is already here and now is the time to take charge of this problem that has not been resolved for decades. Regardless of age, gender, or nationality, we need to raise our voices and together solve it because the union is the strength.
Fortunately, there are still people who understand the seriousness of the matter and care about it. For example, Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old climate activist, became the voice of young people at the UN Climate Action Summit in New York by blaming world leaders for ignoring or only doing nothing about warming global, making clear their disappointment in the face of so much irresponsibility and unconsciousness on the part of leaders who focus more on the economy than on the future of humanity. This teenager, through an exciting but convincing speech and with a rough and angry tone, reproaches the leaders for having failed her generation and even more the climate change that is a previously warned topic and about the mortal consequences that this could bring as would be the probability of near environmental collapse. Thunberg concluded this speech by warning leaders that young people are already tired of empty promises and actions not taken concerning climate change, and if they decide to disappoint them and do nothing, the young people will decide to act for themselves. Thunberg made a difference by making this speech challenging, critical, and constructive. She demonstrated her maturity, ability, intelligence, and her extensive knowledge about climate change by speaking with precision and evidence.
As a child, she gave adults a life lesson, and we must not underestimate people. Thunberg demonstrated their maturity, ability and intelligence to face this problem. I believe that although the leaders do not recognize this, she is getting them to worry. They are feeling cornered, uncomfortable. They did not expect to be confronted by a girl who, without hesitation, told them the truths with reasons and arguments to their faces. President Donald Trump ironically commented on Twitter “She looks like a very happy girl. Waiting for a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!” Our president once again demonstrates his ignorance, sarcasm, and arrogance by mocking a girl who is just a little older than his youngest son. What kind of human being is Trump who, with such a twisted mind, can write about Thunberg and say that she looked happy when it was the opposite because she kept a worried face, a trembling voice, and tearful eyes? However, everything has its right side, and this could be further proof of the kind of person who is ruling the power of the world.
Being aware of climate change is a crucial point. People talk about it, but I wonder if they understand what it is and what causes it. According to the “Global Warming FAQ” from the Union of Concerned Scientists, global warming is when carbon dioxide and other heat-catching radiations are dispersed in the air, acting like a blanket and thus conserving the high temperature in our atmosphere and heating the planet. This overcharges our atmosphere with CO2 bringing consequences for everyone, including extreme droughts, numerous forest fires, deadly heatwaves, more severe weather, and sea-level rise. It is sad to say that humans are the leading cause of this problem. It is through our daily activity, whether in our homes or jobs, which increases the mass of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
Greta Thunberg has undoubtedly become a symbol and an echo of the young generation and the future. She desires a brilliant and better tomorrow. My reaction at the first moment I read the speech was self-critical. First, it is a topic that has been discussed a lot, but few have the courage and maturity to face it as this 16-year-old girl did. She had the ability and intelligence to understand the current situation, making her ideals and convictions very clear, and I am very sure that, like me, many people are waking up to start making a difference to save the planet. Second, climate change and human beings depend on each other. Thunberg made me analyze myself and reflect on what I can do, starting with my daily habits, and be one less that causes carbon emissions. I can start with the simplest things to dry clothes outdoors, give more importance to recycling, use energy-saving light bulbs, or decreasing needless energy use. Why not walk, ride a bike, or take public transportation? In this way we integrate more into society and feel better physically. Also, grow our food, be more vegetarian, and less carnivorous.
It seems incredible that 27 years ago, the late leader of the Cuban revolution, Fidel Castro, at the Rio Environmental Conference in Brazil, referred to climate change, setting the same criteria, reflections, and predictions as those of Thunberg today. He said: “An important biological species is at risk of disappearing due to the rapid and progressive elimination of its natural habitat: Humankind. We are becoming aware of this problem when it is almost too late to prevent it. As a result, tens of millions of men, women, and children die every year in the Third World, more than in each of the two world wars. Enough of selfishness. Enough of schemes of domination. Enough of insensitivity, irresponsibility, and deceit.” This implies that climate change has been a current problem from generation to generation and painfully unsolved. Both communicators demanded that leaders act in time before the damage was irreversible and put aside the thirst for money and the desire to grow economically. Thunberg and Castro are admirable and an example to follow because, although they are from different eras, they had the courage to face the world and defend what they thought was fair, speak for the most affected but speechless, demonstrating their humanitarian side and respect for people.
All this knowledge that I have deepened on climate change makes me feel today as Greta Thunberg in her speech: outraged, angry, disappointed with the leaders of the world, humanity, and even myself for merely doing nothing. Curiously, this issue reminds me of my grandfather’s words when he said there was no need for a third world war to destroy the planet because we would be to blame for it. But what catches my attention is that my grandfather is 95 years old and has no school level and still understands the situation on planet Earth. However, world leaders have excellent studies, diplomas, and the possibility of amending the situation, but all of them don’t care. It is the love for the material and insignificant that characterizes today’s society without thinking about what we have when we are born and what we get when we die. So, why not focus and fight against climate change as if we were doing it for our mother because it is mother nature that allows us to live, breathe, which gives us enough to live, but please with less greed and more awareness.
Castro, Fidel. ’’Fidel Castro’s prescient warming on climate to change”. Liberation News.12 Junio 2019,https://www.liberationnews.org/fidel-castros-prescient-warning-on-climate-change/.27 August 2019.
Thunberg, Greta.” Greta Thunberg’s Speech at the U.N. Climate Action Summit. “NPR.23 September 2019,https://www.npr.org/2019/09/23/763452863/transcript-greta-thunbergs-speech-at-the-u-n-climate-action-summit.10 October 2019.
Trump, Donald J. [realDonaldTrump] From: “She looks like a very happy girl. Waiting for a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see! ” 23 Sep 2019, 8:36 p.m. Tweet.
Course: ENG 095 Basic Writing and Reading Strategies, Fall 2019
Assignment: Textual Analysis
Instructor: Kevin Lamkins
Instructor comments: Carmen makes good use of synthesis in her reactions to the Thunberg speech, incorporating a Trump tweet and Castro speech. She also uses tone effectively to show readers just how passionate she is about the topic.
Photo credit: “System Change, not Climate Change” by Chris Yakimov. Licensed through Creative Commons.