The Gift Of Greta Thunberg

A wise person once said “We are all the heroes of our own stories.”

There’s a story that I like to tell myself sometimes which goes something like this:

‘Josh, you’re a smart guy. You see the world for what it is, you understand the problems and talk about them. Heck, you’ve even written about them. You have assessed the complexities of global injustice and grappled with the philosophical conundrums of our day. You’ve even come up with some ideas that could make a change. You’re a real radical, Josh. Give yourself a pat on the back.’

There’s a problem with my story, however. It’s a work of fiction - a masterful web of self-deceit that enables me to sit back and talk about the world without having to do much about it.

How do I know? Because this week I heard someone else’s story. Greta Thunberg’s story to be exact. Maybe you’ve heard of her?

Her story has risen to prominence in recent days because she cuts school once a week to go and protest about climate change outside the Swedish parliamentary building. She has seen the problems of climate change and decided to act. She’s doing something.

This week she was given the opportunity to speak at The Conference Of The Parties to the UN. Or the COP as it’s more commonly known. This year it’s being hosted in Poland.

Greta spoke and I listened. Watch for yourself:

You might want to turn up the volume a little.

Greta refuses to wait. Greta has refused the argument that we can continue talking our way out of the problem. She refuses to let her elders handle the situation. She stated clearly ‘what is the point of learning facts, when the most important facts clearly mean nothing to our society?’.

Greta has shown the world the power and influence that one schoolgirl can wield. One that refuses to accept the same tired answers. She obliterates the myth that young people are adults-in-waiting. She’s dared to take risks, to take action, to realise her power to affect others and to lead.

When she speaks, I listen. Her story has disrupted my own.

The world needs more Greta’s, more Malala’s, more Parkland Florida Students, more young leaders that hold a mirror to the world and ourselves. Greta has offered me, and us, the opportunity to reflect on our own power to make change. Greta is another great reminder that the wisdom of youth is sorely needed.

I am praying for more youthful wise leaders to emerge and continue to lead us towards a better future. I want my story to join with Greta’s - to act and be as powerful as the Swedish schoolgirl who dared to lead.