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Greta Thunberg: "We've been greenwashed out of our senses"
The 19-year-old environmental activist has been delivering some uncomfortable truths

Greta Thunberg, the Swedish environmental campaigner, has written a book, The Climate Book' to keep climate change stays top of the agenda. Although, as this extract published in The Guardian explains, she thinks the term climate change itself might be part of the problem...

"Climate change. It doesn’t sound that bad. The word “change” resonates quite pleasantly in our restless world. No matter how fortunate we are, there is always room for the appealing possibility of improvement. Then there is the “climate” part. Again, it does not sound so bad. If you live in many of the high-emitting nations of the global north, the idea of a “changing climate” could well be interpreted as the very opposite of scary and dangerous. A changing world. A warming planet. What’s not to like?

Perhaps that is partly why so many people still think of climate change as a slow, linear and even rather harmless process. But the climate is not just changing. It is destabilising. It is breaking down. The delicately balanced natural patterns and cycles that are a vital part of the systems that sustain life on Earth are being disrupted, and the consequences could be catastrophic. Because there are negative tipping points, points of no return. And we do not know exactly when we might cross them. What we do know, however, is that they are getting awfully close, even the really big ones. Transformation often starts slowly, but then it begins to accelerate."

She quotes some breathtaking statistic–if everyone lived as they do in Sweden, we would need the resources of 4.2 planets Earths to sustain us. She illustrates the how different the amount of energy people across the globe use by pointing out that 3 billion people use less energy, on a per capita basis, than a standard American refrigerator.

She puts the pressure back on world leaders to make the necessary changes. She says: "It gives me no pleasure whatsoever to keep calling out the bullshit of our so-called leaders. I want to believe that people are good. But there really seems to be no end to these cynical games. If your objective as a politician truly is to act on the climate crisis, then surely your first step would be to gather accurate figures for our actual emissions to get a complete overview of the problem, and from there start looking at real solutions? That would also give you a rough idea of the changes needed, the scale of them and how quickly they need to be put in place. This, however, has not been done – or even suggested – by any world leader. Or, to my knowledge, by any one single politician."

She concludes: "They say we must be able to compromise. As if the Paris agreement were not already the world’s biggest compromise. A compromise that has already locked in unimaginable amounts of suffering for the most affected people and areas. I say: “No more.” I say: “Stand your ground.” Our so-called leaders still think they can bargain with physics and negotiate with the laws of nature. They speak to flowers and forests in the language of US dollars and short-term economics. They hold up their quarterly income reports to impress the wild animals. They read stock-market analysis to the waves of the ocean, like fools.

"We are approaching a precipice. And I would strongly suggest that those of us who have not yet been greenwashed out of our senses stand our ground. Do not let them drag us another inch closer to the edge. Not one inch. Right here, right now, is where we draw the line."