Whilst @gretathunberg is forcing politicians to confront the truth at the climate summit, we’ve got some of our own truths to look at.
For over a decade I have travelled, lived & worked in some of the poorest regions of our world. I have watched children born into extreme poverty. Watched mothers deliver kids on a piece of metal mesh without a mattress, in an empty room. I have watched children go to hospital & die for curable illnesses. I have stepped over AIDS patients who have no other options. I have lost a child in a family we were funding to sex trafficking. I have seen little boys drugged up to traffic goods. I have watched families & children work in what is slave labor for fast-fashion. I have seen forests come down in their entirety. Watched rivers & rice fields choke to death from chemical run-off. Spoken to people who face one of the most difficult choices of all; destroy their country to provide for the wealthier in others, or not put food on the table.
Simultaneously I have had friends buy brand new (non-EV) cars. I have watched them fill up huge homes with things they do not need. I have listened to them brag about cheap t-shirt purchases. Mountains of plastic in their homes. I have been admonished for daring to say anything. On leaving Cambodia this year, a friend (no longer) told me to be more optimistic about the suffering I had witnessed due to climate change & development.
The uncomfortable truth? Millions of others suffer, for us to flourish more than ever before. The cost of your children attending a fancy school, having all the toys, new clothes & an endless supply of processed food, is families suffering for it.
Our world is complex. We need to work in destructive industries to break bread too. We still need homes. But we also have so much more power. We can collectively force change. And we certainly have the power to consume far less. We’re up against a system, but we have control of that. I’m in that with you, every day.
Some economists say if we all lived like the 1960s we might be able to bring this world into balance. According to my mum, the 60s were pretty great for the planet.
Let that discomfort linger and then use it to act.