I have been experiencing climate change denial.
I wasn’t fully aware of this before reading the remarkable profile of Greta Thunberg, TIME magazine’s 2019 Person of the Year.
No, I’m not a “climate denier”—a person who does not accept the evidence of climate change. But I lack Greta’s capacity to truly grasp the alarming trajectory we are on.
Fifteen years ago, I was involved in the development of a climate action plan for the first time. Among my colleagues, there were two schools of thought: One, that we should acknowledge the need to adapt to climate change while continuing to mitigate GHG emissions. The other was that we should focus on mitigation only —to do otherwise was signaling a lack of confidence in our proposed solutions. It was “giving up.”
Greta was a toddler then. Would things be different now had we been willing to communicate the concern we knew was real, rather than relying solely on the optimism of the clean energy revolution?
Of course, we don’t get a redo. What we do now is what matters. And, there is much that is and can be done. As Jonathan Safran Foer reminds us in We Are The Weather, none of us will solve climate change and all of us will solve climate change.
Greta is doing her part-as are the many towns, cities, counties, regions, and partners that ICLEI has the great honor to serve and collaborate with.
The sincerity of their purpose, love, and humanity cannot be denied.