The reactions to my blog from last Tuesday call for a new blog as a response. Some people heavily agree with me, but others are outraged that I put all the blame on the older generations (in which I include myself). I would like to say something about that.
First of all, this is my blog and my opinion. You don’t have to agree with me. I’m happy with all the comments I receive as long as they’re written respectfully. Luckily this is almost always the case and I would like to thank everyone for this. For the people who think I shouldn’t have said the older generation should be ashamed and commented on this with maybe even some irritation, I have two questions:
1: The fact that you’re responding is an indication to me that you feel addressed. If you really feel that you’ve done everything in your power to give future generations a livable future, wouldn’t you just shrug while reading my blog? After all, it wouldn’t be about you. The fact that you feel the need to defend yourself or our generations shows me that there’s some truth in my ‘accusation’. It’s not my intention to lump whole generations together. But, for me it’s a fact that we collectively haven’t done enough to prevent the current crisis. And nobody is innocent in this, so neither am I. Taking responsibility is hard and sometimes painful, but in this case, it’s the right thing to do.
2:Do you disagree with me when I say that we, Western society, have been enormously overconsuming for, let’s say, the last 4 decades? Overconsuming, like the sky was the limit? And ignoring the limits of our planet and the consequences of our overconsumption for future generations? That we knowingly and increasingly extracted fossil fuels from the earth, and keep on doing that, despite the knowledge that this harms our environment enormously? That we have enough plastic on earth to cover the whole of Argentina in a layer of 5 cm of the stuff thick, but still find it too much trouble to ban single use plastics? And still, despite urgent calls from scientists to take action now in order to limit the consequences of climate change, we only want to do something as long as it doesn’t lessen our comfort.
We’ve had a golden age after the war, in which it seemed that everything was possible and no resources could run out. It’s understandable that after years of shortages, you want to enjoy abundance when you have the chance. I didn’t experience the war but I understand that completely. But that’s no excuse for the greed that has spread more and more, at the expense of our planet.
Besides that Marjon remarks that our youth these days cannot be excused either. She writes:
‘Ever seen an average high school canteen after the break? The floor is covered with plastic packages that were bought in the supermarket. Despite the healthy cafeteria you find empty bottles of coke, cans of RedBull and packages of chips and sausage rolls. That is something from our days and not from the old days.’
But Marjon, isn’t it our job to raise our children well and set an example? And isn’t it much more effective to encourage the children that are standing up for their rights now, instead of pointing fingers: ‘But they do it too?’ How mature is that?
Look, of course I know there are limits to what we can do. Without decisive leadership setting an example for us and giving us the means to take better care of our planet, there’s not much we can do. But we can enforce those means and opportunities. The government is supposed to be there for us. We should have stood up against the corporate lobby a long time ago.
But we can still make a difference, people! We can follow the good example of our youth and participate in the Climate March on Sunday March 10th. This march is organized by Milieudefensie and Greenpeace among others. It starts at 1pm in the Dam in Amsterdam. I’m going and I’m trying to persuade as many people as I can to join me. Are you in? You can find more information on the Climate March here:
This is the least we can do, isn’t it? Let’s make our voices heard, show the world how important an honest climate policy is to you. For our future and that of future generations. I still believe we can do better. I see so many beautiful initiatives from people that believe the same, and they are working hard to create a better functioning society. We need actions, not endless negotiation. No ifs and buts, just move forward. Less talking, more doing. Joining the Climate March is a good first step!