I’m celebrating it because it succeeded in raising awareness. I can tell because the internet has become EXTREMELY polarized in opinions, not just about Greta but about climate change.
But the main significance for me isn’t Greta Thunberg.
I’ve been following the UN Declaration on the Rights of the Child since 1990 when I first heard of it. I think it came out in 1989.
I was 17/18 years old.
Every few years, I look for signs of progress – and it’s been very slow.
5 years ago, the UN finally put in a mechanism to allow CHILDREN to directly address the UN with formal complaints to the UN about its failings.
UNICEF sometimes helps them draw up the formalities but does not interfere with the message or presentation.
I’ve seen it put into use a few times in the last five years and I cheer every time I see it.
When I heard a group of 16 teenagers were working on addressing the UN and launching formal complaints not only to the UN in failing to address climate change but ALSO to directly address several nations BY NAME, I thought, “This is too big. It’s not going to happen. The news will be buried.”
And I think it would have been.
But Greta’s speech was powerful. 15 other children gave speeches and all were involved in the 101 page formal complaint to the UN.
But you don’t hear about them.
She KNOWS she’s a privileged white girl from a wealthy family who can afford a solar boat and puts her in a unique position to do impossible things such as sailing across the ocean on solar power.
A VERY grand entrance. Yes, it is a show. But for a strong reason.
We don’t listen to the 15 other brown and/or less wealthy kids.
But we will listen to privilege. And we did.
This is our failing as people. But I think she is making good use of her status in a very self-aware manner. She knows her own hypocrasy and yet persists.