Greta Thunberg Triggers Praise and Fear

Vegas Strip Source: Pixabay Polar caps are melting, ocean levels are rising, the Amazon is burning—climate change is real and Mother Earth and Greta Thunberg are screaming at us for help. But why do we freeze while the planet boils? Why do we fear a sixteen-year-old girl in pigtails as we applaud big industries switching to renewable energy resources? A few years ago, the city of Las Vegas announced that all their municipal buildings and facilities would be powered by renewable energy. The news was met with excitement and inspired the gambling industry’s brightly-lit Strip to increase their own efforts to go green. But as we cheer on the casinos’ renewable energy plans, we hesitate to stand up with Greta Thunberg. Across the globe, her message has been received with praise and awe, but also with a great deal of fear, resentment, hate, and worst of all, inaction.

The Overwhelming Case of Climate Action

Climate change is terrifying. Science tells us that we are in the midst of the sixth mass extinction caused by overpopulation and overconsumption of natural resources. Now, you might be an optimist, a pessimist, or a realist, but there is no way anyone can admit the scientific truth of climate change and not be overwhelmed by its prospect. Adults are busy with their own lives and responsibilities, and it’s easy to suppress the information and carry on. So, when a sixteen-year-old girl from Sweden comes along and puts us to the test, we react cowardly. Some of us praise her from behind our screens and vow to never again use plastic straws; some others just sneer at her message and change the channel on the TV. World leaders, with the power to change laws and affect the course of action, are equally terrified. As Thunberg singled out leaders with the power to act, they too resorted to hate and resentment. Vicious reactions like U.S President Donald Trump’s and Australian political commentator Andrew Bolt’s are horrid and chilling. Not only are they insulting a teenager but they are simultaneously letting us know that they are far from taking action. Greta Thunberg Source: Pixabay

Undermining the Truth

It is easy to be appalled at vicious reactions to Greta Thunberg. But most distressing of all is not her opponents’ condemnations, but her supporters’ lack of fortitude. While on her visit to the U.S., the child activist talked about her voyage and the changes her family has made to reduce their own carbon footprint. For example, her mother switched careers to avoid air travel. But what would be life-changing to most of us, Greta sees it as “not that big of a deal,” implying that one’s profession is not as important as saving the planet. She also stated that the number one thing people should do is get informed. She insists that once we understand the impending doom, we’ll act differently. This is, of course, the problem. We have read the articles, seen the numbers, and experienced the climate changing before our eyes. Yet, we are still frozen in place, changing little about our own lives even as we demand action from our leaders. Of course, using the power of democracy to ask for help is not nothing. Politicians have an incredible responsibility when it comes to climate change. But we also have to start acting in accordance to our demands. Fear of change is natural: we applaud green policies but shy away from personal commitments. A Greta supporter made this point in a note the activist retweeted, “You don’t need to spend two weeks on a boat to do your part to avert our climate emergency. You just need to do everything you can, with everyone you can, to change everything you can.”

Follow the Eco-Path of the Casinos

Las Vegas provides its own message and an example to emulate. The city’s casinos, designed for luxury and comfort, rather than conservation, are now committed to sustainability. They started by setting goals. According to The Las Vegas Sun, Caesars Entertainment set a goal for all its properties to reduce its 2008 water consumption by 20% by the year 2020. The company surpassed the goal in 2017 and have now increased their target. Similarly, MGM started with a solar array on top of their Mandalay Bay resort in 2014 and is in the process of constructing a solar farm to power all their electricity needs. Waste, a byproduct of the Strip’s opulence, is also a target for reforms. Resorts like the Wynn and MGM send their food waste to farms rather than landfills, to be used for compost or stock feed. So, let us not undermine the truth. Put aside your anxiety and guilt and let Greta Thunberg and the Vegas casinos inspire you. Start with a simple goal, not a two-week voyage. Before you finish this article, resolve to take an actionable step and memorize a scary fact. Bit by bit, we can digest the overwhelming feelings triggered by Greta Thunberg’s demands and become her true allies. Interested in the environment? You may also like:

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