The Problem Today Is the People of Yesterday & the People of Tomorrow

Very recently, a young woman named Gretta was brought before the United Nations where she set about shaming that institution and making a name for her in the world. A name as someone who plans to change the world. For the better.

The problem? No one listened. Okay, that’s not completely true. People listened by they scoffed at and threw scorn upon her instead of be shamed and try to do something about it. The problem she pointed out: We’re probably all going to die horrible deaths if we don’t start doing something now to change our ways.

You’d think that would cause people to jump up and immediately start to do something about it. Instead: Silence. And more scorn.

World leaders have responded to young Gretta by pointing out how young she is, with many indicating that once she grows up, she’ll learn better and learn to speak her place. Except, it will be too late then. And she’ll probably be dead. Or bad enough like the rest of us that she’s not going to be living the same life that so many others had before.

So, why the silence?

Well, to begin with, people in power in all of the governments of the world have everything to gain by making things happen exactly as they are now. They’re powerful people with lots of economic power. They have everything to lose by changing things to make the world a better, safer place. They have nothing to lose by keeping the status quo. Except when it’s too late.

It’s like our international policies were designed in the planning room of the Titanic as it was taking on water. The leaders of today have absolutely no incentive to change anything: When the time comes to pay the piper, they’re rides are over, and they have nothing to lose.

But Gretta does. And so does her generation. So, of course, at least her generation is paying attention, right?

I asked a class of college students this same question yesterday. The response I got was shocking because the question I actually asked was why didn’t the leaders of the world care about Gretta Thunberg and her shaming revolution. Also, was it effective.

That response I got was telling. No one heard of Gretta Thunberg. No one knew anything about some young girl shaming the United Nations. No one heard about a quick encounter between Gretta and President Trump. Part of me was scared to ask them if they knew who President Trump was.

And that’s why we’re never going to make the world a better, safer, healthier place. It’s not that people don’t care (cause they did when I explained it) but that no one but college professors, and a few of you who might be reading this, even pay attention to what is going on, even if it affects them personally.

We’re kind of screwed. I’d shame you right now, if I thought it would do any good. But I suspect you’ll never know it actually happened.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store