I was going to write a post tonight about sensory issues. I can’t. I mean, I can, but my heart isn’t in it. Instead, my heart is aching after watching a portion of Greta Thunberg’s address to the U.N. This young activist is quite brutal and honest, telling world leaders exactly what her generation thinks about their decisions.
She’s right. The decisions that old, mostly white people are making for our countries don’t reflect the values and ideals that my generation and on down the line hold.
The “Greatest Generation” isn’t so great
My husband and I went through a description of the different generations the other night for kicks (we’re so exciting!) While it sounds like an odd thing to do, it really did clarify how vastly different the main generational groups think and operate. My generation, the Y.1 group, are characterized by words like “massive student debt” and “financial instability.” The primary group in political power today, the Boomers, are characterized by words like “traditional” and “optimism.”
I’m tired tonight, and hurting. So much of being an adult these days is pessimistic and depressing, and tonight, I’m feeling it more than usual. Our world has become a frightening place. From senseless human atrocities to systemic racism and sexism to natural disasters, it’s all depressing. Watching Greta made it more depressing – our kids hate us for what we’ve done.
Not just tired
I’m not just tired and frustrated, I’m angry. I’m angry at those who ignore warnings from scientists, the people who sit back, comfortable in their isolation and decry the unwashed masses. I’m pissed off at corporations who take capitalism to its bloody, disgusting results instead of practicing ethical capitalism.
Small changes are a drop in the bucket
Our family has gradually been trying to make small changes in our lifestyles and habits to help. Every little bit helps, right? Bull. Let’s be honest: our paltry few re-usable grocery bags mean nothing compared to the ecological impact of an oil spill. My puny attempts to cut back on plastic mean absolutely zilch when every food manufacturer under the sun wraps their products in plastic that cannot be recycled.
Our area has ceased accepting recycling for pretty much everything but some metals and cardboard. Recycling feels like a pipe-dream – something we were sold as the answer to our issues. If we all just recycle, we can make a difference! Wrong. And now that justification is pulled out from under our feet and we’re left with a mountain of bottled water staring at us reproachfully.
No such thing as coincidence
Even those who deny the existence of climate change (and there’s a staggering number of them) have to admit that the rate and severity of natural disasters is rapidly increasing. 100 year and 500 year events are suddenly every other year. Coincidence? Maybe. If you think so, let’s discuss a get-rich-quick scheme involving the lottery – I think you’ll be interested.
A sound track started running through my brain as I watched Greta speak: John Mayer’s “Waiting for the world to change.” My generation has been waiting. Waiting for the power to change things. That’s our fault – because while we waited, the older generations have ruined what we could have fixed.
Parenting a kid like Greta
I’m raising a kid who understands that we cut every plastic net or string into shreds before we trash it because it could hurt an animal. A kid who asked why people keep dumping trash along the walking paths. A kid who thought a expanding metal straw as an event prize was the most amazing thing ever! I’m supposed to tell him “sorry kid, we screwed up your future?” I’m the furthest thing from an activist you’ll ever meet, and I’m still angry.
I’m sorry, Greta. I’m sorry we waited instead of putting them out to pasture.