Yesterday was the first time I heard or read about Greta Thunberg. Today I read that she was nominated for Nobel Peace Prize. Excellent choice and I hope they give the prize to her even though I realize the title of the youngest Nobel Peace prize winner will be taken away from Malala but I’m sure she’ll welcome it too. Recently Greta gave a talk at UN climate change conference where this 16 year old told the adults, “You are not mature enough to tell it like it is.” No bitterness or hostility but a simple matter of fact statement that she thought it was needed to be said. Greta has autism or Asperger and “selective mutism” as she put it in her talk at TEDx Stockholm, Sweden. She explained that things are black and white for her, for example; If the scientists are saying that the emission from fossil fuel is causing the global warming then why are we still using them?
I didn’t know what aspergers was until I got a job at a small private school for kids with autism back in 2013. I was 53 years. When I was Greta’s age the climate change wasn’t on anyone’s radar except for a man whom I became familiar with his philosophy of Dialectical Naturalism in early 80’s, Murray Bookchin. In a 1964 article he warned that in 200 years from then we would see dire consequences from the way we use our natural resources. Back then hardly anyone took him seriously and of course 20 years later scientist recognized his statement as valid and 50 years later he was proven right but he couldn’t imagine it’ll go down that fast.
When I was Greta’s age I saw a different global issue as black and white. I’d see pictures of kids dying of malnutrition and hunger in Africa and could not comprehend why humanity couldn’t solve the problem of hunger. Why did humanity allowed this to happen? Like Greta I feel into depression from an early age and I didn’t like eating that much but I was force fed. I was not listened to but pushed to get up and get going. I did get up and eventually moved from Iran to the United States where I now live and have a different relationship with food.
But on a rare day like this I don’t like getting up anymore for I’m getting tired of not being heard. You can tell Greta is not only makes no nonsense statements but also has found a platform to speak, is very smart, has done her “homework” and can back her talks with proper data. I have done some homework too.
We’re made of body, mind and soul. When we keep the focus on the needs of the body and the mind and lose the path to search for the soul’s needs we end up where we are today. We end up not recognizing our soul’s need and if we get lucky we’ll see that we need to let go of worldly pleasures and do what’s right; Cut down on driving, flying, eating so much meat, choose to live in a well knit community rather than in our private lives alone and the list goes on. It’s hard to begin soul searching, hard to finally figure out what our soul needs and even harder to be diligent to give our soul what uou needs on day to day bases but not impossible. At best I find it mystical and at worse depressing but in either state do I find it impossible.
P.S. I think the parents of Gretha and Malala have been instrumental in helping their children to find and walk the path of their calling. They ought to be nominated for this peace prize as well and the prize could be given to all four of them. This would set an example for other parents to “not clip the wings” of their children and not only be open to what their kids say but also evaluate what they say and change their lifestyle to live within those values. If it wasn’t for parents like these two couples we wouldn’t have these two young women who’re shaping the future.