Climate change campaigner Greta Thunberg’s parents should be proud: Dad’s Diary

Do you wish you had a daughter like Greta Thunberg?

Tuesday, 19th March 2019, 3:43 pm
Updated Tuesday, 19th March 2019, 3:46 pm
Activist Greta Thunberg, foreground, participates in a climate protest, in central Stockholm Sweden, Friday, March 15, 2019.

What do you mean Greta who? Have you been living in a cave without access to the wider world for the few months.

The schoolgirl was just 15 when she staged a sit-down protest during school hours outside Sweden’s government buildings last summer in the run-up to a general election.

Greta was demanding her country make concerted efforts to reduce their carbon emissions.

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After the election, she continued to skip school only on Fridays - hence the fact last week’s Portsmouth protest took place on that day.

Her actions have not gone unnoticed. She addressed the United Nations Climate Change Conference last December - still aged 15 - and in January this year she talked at the World Economic Forum.

‘I don’t want you to be hopeful,’ she told world leaders and other major influencers. ‘I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear every day and then I want you to act.

‘Either we choose to go on as a civilisation or we don’t.’

Strong words, and we can only hope they are acted on.

Greta isn’t just concerned about the bigger picture, though; she has also told her own family they must turn vegan and stop flying.

Now HOW would that go down with you if your Millennial started issuing such demands?

Ellen went vegetarian a couple of years ago - for about three weeks. As soon as we’d restocked the freezer with quorn burgers and sausages, she staged a dramatic U-turn (which, shamefully, neither of her parents did anything to talk her out of).

Following on from last Friday’s nationwide protests which saw youngsters swap double maths for a chance to hold up some placards, there was the usual online condemnation from some.

Most went along the lines of this - yeah, you take a day off school to protest about climate change, but then you’ll get a lift home from mummy and daddy in a fuel-guzzling car instead of walking. And the middle class kids who protested - and it would mainly have been the middle classes - wouldn’t want to miss out on their annual skiing holiday, would they?

Isn’t the internet a totally joyless place at times?

Fair play to the pupils who protested last Friday. I just hope none of their parents get fined for their truancy.

I wish I’d had something to protest about when I was 15. It’s healthy to feel strongly about world issues.

Isn’t it?

To answer my own question, yes, I’d be proud to have Greta as a daughter.

She’d get short shrift if she asked me to give up the Maccy D’s and KFC, though …

A war we’re unlikely to win …

Regards trying to save the planet, I always remember a family holiday to Florida back in 2010 (yeah, I know, long journey – Greta wouldn’t have been impressed).

Once, visiting a supermarket, the cashier personally put our food items in plastic bags for us – the sort of bags which were handed out for free in England prior to 2015.

She popped about three or four items in each bag. We ended up with about 20 – the cashier having ignored our protests that we didn’t need this many bags.

It got me thinking. We were just one family visiting one supermarket on one day in the good old US of A. Just imagine how many bags are given away in that country every minute?

Whenever I read about kind-hearted people doing beach cleans on Hayling Island or Southsea, or school pupils going on demos, I think back to the bag-happy lady merrily handing out thousands a week. And, as a result, a grim thought has always struck me – do we EVER stand a chance of winning this war on plastic? Not when the greatest consumer society on earth, the USA, has little appetite (very unlike Americans, I know!) for banning the bag – something Bangladesh did in 2002.

New Yorkers are believed to throw 20 plastic bags out each week. That’s 10 BILLION a year. That’s what my family, and your family, are up against. And what kind of world will that obscene plastic gluttony create for our children’s children?

We can do our best, all of us, but we can’t do it all.