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  Opinion   Oped  19 Sep 2019  Mystic Mantra: Greta Thunberg ‘walks the talk’ on climate change

Mystic Mantra: Greta Thunberg ‘walks the talk’ on climate change

Francis Gonsalves is a professor of theology. He can be contacted at
Published : Sep 19, 2019, 1:32 am IST
Updated : Sep 19, 2019, 1:32 am IST

She’s what medicos call someone with “special needs” — suffering from learning disabilities.

Greta Thunberg (Photo: AP)
 Greta Thunberg (Photo: AP)

Two Twitter snapshots struck me recently. First, politicians — flanked by religionists of all hues — pouring cold water on the globe as a sign of their resolve to solve the climate crisis.

Second, a 16-year-old autistic Swedish girl: Greta Thunberg. Tomorrow, Friday, September 20, she’ll lead the “Global Climate Strike” in New York, inspiring millions of children and youth, worldwide, to leave their schools and colleges to protest against the wanton ravaging of Mother Earth.


Greta is special. She’s what medicos call someone with “special needs” — suffering from learning disabilities. She says, “I have Asperger’s syndrome, which means I’m sometimes a bit different from the norm. And given the right circumstances, being different is a superpower.” A superpower, she is.

Greta garnered global attention not because she excelled in school, but because she has “bunked school” every Friday — pioneering the “Fridays for Future” movement by sitting in front of the Swedish Parliament, protesting inaction against climate change. “Some say I should be in school,” she confesses, “But, why should anyone be made to study for a future when no one is doing enough to save that future?”


Greta “walks the talk” by living an extremely ecofriendly lifestyle. She courageously criticises the world’s super-rich with “extra-special needs”, saying: “Our biosphere is being sacrificed so that rich people in countries like mine can live in luxury. It’s the sufferings of the many which pay for the luxuries of the few.”

Of politicians she says, “For way too long, the politicians and people in power have gotten away with not doing anything at all to fight the climate and ecological crises... But we will make sure that they will not get away with it any longer.”

When people tell her, “You’re too small to make a difference,” Greta retorts, “I have learned you are never too small to make a difference.” In fact, her collection of speeches is entitled: “No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference.”


Come Monday, September 23, the world’s elite will assemble at the United Nations for the Climate Action Summit — a meeting ahead of the UN General Assembly where countries are supposed to ramp up their ambitions to curb greenhouse gases under the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement.

Let’s ask: Do I think I’m too small to make a difference? Am I doing anything to save humanity from ecological hara-kiri? Can’t I do more? Mother Earth has more than enough for everyone’s need, not for everyone’s greed.

Pouring water on the globe before the cameras is like pouring water on a duck’s back. Greta warns us to do something — some concrete action — before it’s too late. What more can I do to save Mother Earth? Let’s make a difference.


Tags: greta thunberg, global climate strike