OPINION – Teenagers no more ? …

– Carlos M. Frota

Are teenagers becoming adults too early in their lives, to take action there where adults are failing? This is the starting thought guiding me in writing this commentary.

The Greta Thunberg story can help answer this question, or is she a special person that is an exemption to the rule?

Up to my readers to judge.

When I first knew that a Swedish 16 years girl was planning a voyage by sea, alone, in order to reach New York, my reaction was of admiration but … for me the story stopped there!

I praised her courage and determination, of course, thinking that it was just another sports challenge or adventure. And the constant flux of world news led my attention towards different directions.

Suddenly I realized that the adolescent in question was somebody already known in her home country, for a kind of social engagement unusual at her age. Greta Thunberg was the founder of an informal movement of young people, committed to call world leaders’ attention to the dangerous path of irreversible climate change.

This is not the kind of questions young people are interested in – I told to myself. But I was wrong! Totally wrong!  Greta is indeed a very special person!

Her recent stay in America showed a little girl perfectly at ease when talking to world leaders or before huge crowds .

A natural leader, we can say. Yes, but not only this, I believe. Greta understood that the message is much more important than the messenger. And she placed herself in the role of giving voice , among millions of voices, expressing a common concern.

“Our world is in danger!” It’s the rallying cry of the new crusade.

“The present generation is stealing our future! The common house, mother nature,  is more fragile now than ever before!”

What they are doing is criminal behavior, vis a vis future generations… starting with us!

From where came this acute social awareness of a little girl, so determined to enter a  game – only for adults so far – and ordering, not imploring but ordering a total rules change ?

What will be the real consequences of this campaign? We don’t know yet. The world lives on symbols. Not only because the media creates them, in the usual frenzy of searching for news.  But because symbols, when linked to good causes, inspire new perspectives, attitudes, behaviors.

And with the courage of her very young years, she told Congress in Washington: “Don’t listen to me. Listen to the scientists!”

I’m sure we’re all certain that just by this phrase Greta wouldn’t be a White House guest, taking pictures next to Trump.  And she will never will have the opportunity to ask Baron Trump, teenager that she is if ever she questioned daddy about the world he and his friends, all billionaires of the industry are creating.

If you think you’re doing everything to preserve a planet, as we still know it, or if a ghostly world, where the avenues will go underground, the houses will become bunkers and the masks will be an integral part of the usual, matching outfit.  with the suit or dress … or, right away, the school uniform … starting with kindergarten! …

Greta inspired, as is well known, a global movement to fight climate change by encouraging weekly school stoppages (“Fridays For Future”) to demand government action to prevent temperatures from rising 1.5 degrees Celsius (2,  7 Fahrenheit) by 2030.

In  Washington, Greta met with deputies meeting at the Capitol, and with former President Barack Obama on Tuesday.

Obama described the teenager on Twitter as “already one of the greatest advocates on the planet.”

Greta and youth leaders also met with Democratic parliamentarians, including Mayor Nancy Pelosi and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.  Thunberg is due to make a speech Wednesday night in the House.

I conclude as I started: are teenagers becoming adults too early in their lives, to take action there where adults are failing?

A few years ago it was Malala Yousafzai, the teenage Taliban victim who boldly took on the fight against obscurantism in a society where access to education is denied to women from an early age.

Greta Thunberg story can help answer this question.

Up to my readers to judge and have an opinion.

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