Greta Thunberg is TIME’s Person if the Year. It’s a lovingly written profile, which portrays climate as an immediate, human crisis — indeed, a crisis of the human heart, and one that falls disproportionately on the young — who are speaking up in their own physical self-defense. It is compelling reading.
There’s an old lefty saw, reductionist but useful: “Think Globally/Act Locally”. So I want to bring this back to Massachusetts. Our legislature and Governor are sitting on a pile of bills which at this rate will never see the light of day, much less pass — most especially H.2836, to move us to 100% renewable energy.
Ms. Thunberg’s remarks to the UN are extremely apt for our so-called leaders, right here in our own State House. Speaker DeLeo, Governor Baker — all members of our legislature: This is you. She’s talking to you.
Her speeches often go straight to the gut. “You say you love your children above all else,” she said in her first big address at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Poland last December. “And yet you are stealing their future in front of their very eyes.”
… In September, speaking to heads of state during the U.N. General Assembly, Thunberg pulled no punches: “We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth,” she said. “How dare you.”
In Massachusetts, our leaders tell us fairy tales of “combo platter” energy policy; of the necessity for gas infrastructure buildout — and our helplessness to resist it; that the automobile is king, and we can’t discourage driving via congestion pricing (thereby improving the alternatives); that modest, tinkering investments in transit are adequate; that the T is “where we need it to be”; that spending a fraction of 1% of the state’s budget on climate resiliency is all our legislature can manage this term.
I gladly concede that we have contracted for wind power, though as yet we have no results. It is good that our Governor is pursuing a multi-state initiative to drive down transportation emissions. But he gives with one hand (TCI) and takes with the other (Weymouth gas compressor). Our Speaker uses his welcome GreenWorks program as an excuse to do nothing else this term, when action on all fronts is both necessary and available, in the form of bills already written and ready to go.
Our leaders are not doing enough, fast enough. They still offer fairy tales, self-deception, and a betrayal of our children. Right here in Massachusetts.
Prove me wrong.