[Michael Cook] Teenage earth warrior pleads for climate alarm, tells Davos audience 'I want you to panic'

[Michael Cook] Teenage earth warrior pleads for climate alarm, tells Davos audience ‘I want you to panic’

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[Intellectual Takeout] “There is no more any prophet,” is the bitter lament of the Psalmist in the Babylonian Exile. We are more fortunate. Sixteen-year-old Swedish schoolgirl Greta Thunberg has been out-Jeremiah-ing Jeremiah as she criss-crosses Europe lecturing about the imminent catastrophe of climate change.

VIDEO: [Guardian News] A sometimes tearful Greta Thunberg criticised EU leaders in Strasbourg for not taking the threat posed by climate change seriously enough. The 16-year-old activist said: ‘If our house was falling apart our leaders wouldn’t go on like we do today… if our house was falling apart you wouldn’t hold three emergency Brexit summits and no emergency summit regarding the breakdown of the climate and the environment.’ [Apr, 16, 2019]


Here’s how she excoriated “the people and prophets and priests” at the World Economic Forum in the Swiss resort of Davos. Expressionless and in her Swedish-accented monotone, she declared: “Adults keep saying: ‘We owe it to the young people to give them hope.’ But I don’t want your hope. I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. And then I want you to act.”

Greta is eloquent, piercing and scary. And even if most of us are still using plastic drinking straws and driving gas-guzzlers, the words of the prophet from Stockholm have not fallen on dry ground. Some philosophers are taking her message to heart and are spreading the word – PANIC!

The journal Essays in Philosophy has just devoted an entire issue to the question: “Is Procreation Immoral?” According to the editor and the four contributors, the answer is Yes. Basically their argument is that the safest response to climate change is not to have fewer children, but to have none at all.

The morality of bringing new life into the world is, according to the editor, Sarah Conly, of Bowdoin College, in Maine, “the most pressing question of our time”. She paints a picture of which Greta Thunberg would be proud:

We face the prospect of great environmental destruction. We suffer now, and will suffer increasingly, from climate change, the depletion of natural resources, the destruction of habitat, overcrowding, and the wars that ensue when people fight for advantages under these changed conditions.

This article continues at [Intellectual Takeout] ‘I Want You to Panic,’ Said Greta, and Panic They Did

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