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Jay Connolly
19. října 2019 ·
Greta Thunberg, Conservative
It’s something to hear self-proclaimed conservatives attack and condemn little Greta Thunberg–particularly when she’s on their side.
Greta has been condemned for her naïveté. She is, many people will tell you, the pawn of much larger forces. She is a hypocrite, others have said, because she has a carbon footprint. Just look at all her travel. And she lives in a house and attends a school and rides in vehicles, all of which come with the cost of emissions. Putin made the point that she should not suggest to rising economies that they sacrifice development to conservation. Kind of him to be looking out for China and India. Many appear to believe that a teenager simply does not possess the strength of character to own her own passions and beliefs. (Those folks don’t know enough teenagers!) It appears to me that the bulk of the criticism comes from the mid-to-far-right. I don’t get it. Greta is on the side of conservatives.
For as long as I can remember, conservatives have used the metaphor of the household budget to condemn government spending. If you run up your credit cards, the line of reasoning goes, and carry a large mortgage–if there’s more money going out of the house than coming in–then soon enough you will face an unmanageable debt and lose everything. We must all live within our means. If we don’t, our children and grandchildren will pay the price.
Let’s accept that analogy. Now, what is the planet, if not a storehouse of resources? Those resources are like cash. They are finite, just as a household income may be finite. For many years–partly out of ignorance and partly due to greed-for-growth–we have overspent. Our luxuries and western standard of living are part of our income. Our expenses include environmental costs. Those costs continue to rise. Experts have pointed out that fossil fuels, for instance, are a limited resource that we must therefore manage. There is mounting evidence of species extinction, reduction in biodiversity, and resource depletion. In other words, we’re running out of REAL money (as opposed to symbolic money). If we don’t make changes, our children and grandchildren will pay the price. Estimates of the price they’ll pay range from a much lower standard of living to utter devastation of the planet.
I must acknowledge another argument–that there is no climate change, or that it’s not the result of human activity. This must be explored. I am not a scientist, but since the overwhelming majority of expert scientists believe human-caused climate change is a thing, I’m going to accept their conclusion. (I’ve had a good run with trusting qualified scientists and engineers. Every day, I depend on the accuracy of their conclusions, and some of those conclusions saved my life and the life of my youngest son.) I’m sure some of their models are wrong, but the overwhelming consensus appears to be that we are agents of negative change, climate-wise. This morning I read an article in which the president of Canada’s largest oil company said that the politicians who deny human-caused climate change are both wrong and wrong-headed. Bill Gates, whom I trust to make his own decisions in these matters, believes human-caused climate change is a problem and that we need “innovation across multiple areas of emission.” Good enough for me.
Greta’s argument is a conservative one. We’ve overspent. We’ve put the children at risk. My dear conservative friends, the kid’s on your side. Her argument is your argument. Why are you shouting at her?