Cli­mate change is killing us but wait, a sil­ver lin­ing

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - All That Matters -

The prob­lem that Thun­berg — and oth­ers less au­di­ble like Sev­ern Suzuki, who in 1992 warned the world about a painful plan­e­tary, or Rid­hima Pandey, who along with Thun­berg, filed a com­plaint to protest the lack of gov­ern­ment ac­tion on the cli­mate cri­sis — has high­lighted is real. The fact that a kid has to holler the mes­sage to be heard isn’t pretty. But if Su­nita Narain or Van­dana ‘NoMon­santo’ Shiva had said the same thing, we — and cer­tainly, I — would have ho-hummed and mut­tered ‘alu doom­sayer’. But a white 16-year-old from Swe­den — who sails her way from an undis­closed place in Bri­tain to New York in an 18-me­tre sports yacht with so­lar pan­els on its deck and sides, and two hy­dro-gen­er­a­tors just to avoid tak­ing a bad carbon-belch­ing flight — may not be the best per­son telling you to stop fly­ing, us­ing an air-con­di­tioner, watch­ing Net­flix, snort­ing co­caine — all lifestyle ac­tiv­i­ties that the de­vel­oped coun­tries have al­ready en­joyed and now may be feel­ing iffy about.

Which is where I can iden­tify one kind of peo­ple who would not be ei­ther panic-stricken or stupidly blasé about cli­mate change: those con­tem­plat­ing sui­cide. One of the ma­jor down­sides of com­mit­ting sui­cide — and, in­deed, dy­ing — is the pain of leav­ing a loved one or loved ones be­hind. With cli­mate change-fu­elled apoc­a­lypse around the cor­ner, there is one heart­warm­ing thought in this mass de­struc­tion — we’re all in it to­gether, for the sad­ness of it.

While peo­ple rally be­hind Thurn­berg and rail against her — some­how mak­ing the ef­fects of a phys­i­cal law sound ‘left lib­eral’ — the fact that ‘it may al­ready be too late’ is com­fort­ing, and if not com­fort­ing yet, should cer­tainly be made so. Un­like the stupid di­nosaurs, we lit­er­ally have a heads-up to the en­hanced suf­fer­ing and hope­fully ex­tinc­tion of our species, along with oth­ers. So the next time you shout while point­ing at a lit lamp dur­ing the bright­ness of a day in an Amer­i­can movie or tele­vi­sion se­ries — ‘Look at the hypocrisy of the West! They keep their lights on dur­ing the day while lec­tur­ing us to turn off our ACs!’ — also do re­mind your­self of dy­ing a tight plan­e­tary death that leaves no one be­hind. The other, bet­ter op­tion is, of course, for an as­ter­oid to hit us. But that, alas, is not in our hands.

GLOBAL WARN­ING: The fact that a child like Greta Thun­berg has to holler to the world about the cli­mate cri­sis isn’t pretty, but she is quite right about what she says

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