One class act to another

.@GretaThunberg, don’t let anyone dim your light. Like the girls I’ve met in Vietnam and all over the world, you have so much to offer us all. Ignore the doubters and know that millions of people are cheering you on.

— Michelle Obama (@MichelleObama) December 13, 2019

25 responses to “One class act to another

  1. indeed. I worry about Greta. She has taken on so much and she’s still just a kid. The right wingers really go after her. It’s personal attacks on her looks or mental health, not argument about her ideas and demands.

    I am no fan of the Clintons, but Chelsea got some of the same treatment from the right wing.

    Trump versus Greta? Terrible mismatch. Greta can out-think Trump without batting an eye. Greta and Michelle? The Chill Girls.

  2. Susan Anderson

    Go Greta! Go Michelle! Go, anyone who can go!!!

    Time to get some wisdom. That girl is looking prettier every day, not that beauty matters. But it’s soul deep.

    • “Go, anyone who can go!!!”

      Thanks Susan! Heh. That’s what I call bipartisanship 8^).

      If all the adults in the world abdicate their responsibility for the future, it’s up to the children. Greta Thunberg emerges out of 21st century culture like a hero out of myth, to hold the world back from the edge of self-destruction. Go anyone who can, by all means, but go Greta most of all.

  3. The orange shit-gibbon was not content to throw a Twitterfit, going after a 16-year-old girl for the first time since he stopped managing the Miss Teen USA pageant. He and his vile horde had to deface the Time cover by placing his face over that of Thunberg. At this point, we can stop referring to Malignant Narcissism and simply say Trump’s disease.

    The thing is that Greta Thunberg has seen worse. She has looked directly into the abyss with courage and confronted the end to the dreams of her whole generation. What are the jibes of a senile, lecherous old fart compared to that?

  4. Greta Thunberg is a phenomenon. Yes, the media… but she completely was up to it. Some are complaining: why again a white person from a rich country? And they have a point. Having said that, I must state, that she has something to her, that is really exceptional, something, that other young climate activists do not have.
    Sometimes she is looking so frail, that i really become afraid.
    But she is laser talking, concise, to the point in an astonishing way, and in a very pleasant and fluid swedish accent at that.
    The Greta Thunberg penomenon is showing something to us: that we are not so much driven by facts as by people.

    • @kinimod,

      Not only by people, I think, but by people and their narratives, in this case, a rise from obscurity with some bravery, overcoming obstacles, into ascendency. It’s a familiar tale.

      I wish her very well, and applaud her every second. But these stories do not always end well. She will be fine, I think, but sometimes when the hope and promise does not match people’s unrealistic expectations, or when pragmatics of achievement seem to the unschooled public to diverge from the purity of the the thoughts they had just in their heads, people can turn against a former leader.

      Whether or not one agrees with its interpretation of the scriptural account, this is the plot line of Jesus Christ: Superstar, for instance.

      Still, Greta will grow up and be powerful. I think and hope, in the end, that she will find a peace and a place like that of the character Ellie Arroway in the Carl Sagan, Anne Druyan, Robert Zemeckis film Contact.

      And while there may be wisdom, that people can only change as fast as they can change, our countdown clock is set by the natural world, and, frankly, it’s not at all clear we are collectively up to the challenge.

      Still, in the spirit of Contact we are probably, after all, just one of a myriad of worlds where life has grown up to be self-aware. If we don’t work out ….

      • She will be fine, I think, but sometimes when the hope and promise does not match people’s unrealistic expectations, or when pragmatics of achievement seem to the unschooled public to diverge from the purity of the the thoughts they had just in their heads, people can turn against a former leader.

        I’m uncomfortably aware of that phenomenon in Gretas’s case. She is a unique person in some important ways, but in all others she’s as normal, and fallible, as the rest of us. I hope she continues to manages her image intelligently. That might include getting professional advice, but if she does I hope it isn’t spun by deniers as betrayal 8^(!

      • Greta has said her childhood diagnosis featured selective mutism: “That basically means I only speak when I think it’s necessary.” It’s associated with “social anxiety disorder”, which surely must be painful. Still, maybe it will help keep her out of the trouble Jan refers to, by preventing her from being distracted from her message.

  5. Off topic, but over at Real Climate Al Rodger says:

    “The CO2 watchers will be aware that NOAA have published the MLO CO2 value for November which yields an annual increase of 2.27ppm/yr.
    The global CO2 value for September has also been published although this will be subject to significant revision over coming months. (August was first published yielding an annual rise of 2.87ppm/yr which a month on has been revised down to 2.56ppm/yr.)
    And there is also the daily ‘Estimated Global Trend’ which is highly smoothed and with the most recent few months-worth of values also subject to a great amount of revision. The annual rise in this daily ‘Estimated Global Trend’ data is graphed out here (usually 2 clicks to ‘download your attachment’) showing annual rise (light blue tace) and acceleration (black trace).
    So how is the global CO2 rise running?
    With revisions being so significant, the final result may be much different but, since the start of 2018 when the acceleration of the global CO2 rise went positive, it looks like the acceleration has peaked (for the second time) allowing the hope that we may be seeing an end to this acceleration wobble and the arrival of some deceleration.
    (On the graph, the end of the light blue ‘annual rise’ trace waggles around like an eel so the value presently graphed [which is +2.74ppm/yr] isn’t very meaningful.)”

    I have trouble deciphering Al’s work, so asking for a little help here. Does the record actually look like acceleration has peaked for the second time? I don’t think there is enough signal of deceleration to make this kind of assertion. I certainly allow for the hope that we might see an end to the acceleration, but I think Al is engaging in some wishful thinking here. I hope I am wrong about that.

    Thanks for your work and thanks if you can find time to look at the data/trends and do a little analysis of CO2 accumulation in atmosphere and oceans.

    Warm regards


  6. David B. Benson

    Madrid was a bust. Now what, Greta?

    • dbb says: Madrid was a bust. Now what, Greta?

      I think it’s a very good bet that Greta will take a holiday break for friends and family and then she will be back on the roads and all over the planet wherever there is an opportunity to berate decision-makers and continue to demand that we do what we must to allow her generation to have an inhabitable planet.

      I am uneasy about the weight this child is carrying on her shoulders, but she seems to be remarkably focused on her message. I hope she can succeed where so many of us have failed before. Greta is the face and voice of intergenerational justice. I hope we don’t continue to do so little to meet the demands of justice, mercy and compassion. Our track record is shameful.


    • @David B Benson,

      I think many of us are going to need to reconcile ourselves to not being listened to, and embracing and realizing that’s not our fault.

      I think we should go enjoy and do the science and engineering and maths we like to do. It’s increasingly apparent that the populations with the influence and the responsibility for emissions do not care, and that the only thing that will convince them is if they begin feeling economic pain from their choices. That may not happen for a while. It could happen soon.

      Of course, by the time this pain is realized, it will be a bit farther down a road which has a lot of irreversible processes associated with it.

      But you can’t really make people care about their situation more than they do, and much of the population of OECD countries have shown they are unwilling to be convinced.

      “One last song for the planet.”

      Although Earth will be fine, the biosphere will go through a species rotation, but people won’t be.

      My heros are tardigrades:

      • Quite right, EQ, species rotation underway. Human species will suffer in the rotation. Here’s a song written by daughter of a friend. I think it matches well with what drives Greta to speak out.

      • And some of us will be pushing harder than ever. Next target date: Earth Day, 2020.

      • @Doc Snow,

        Pardon my cynicism, but meanwhile most will be buying stuff made in and shipped from Asia, shutting down “unaesthetic” wind turbines, continuing to hook up and use natural gas, and flying about to warm places. I don’t begrudge people seeing family, as long as they properly offset. But they’ll be marching on the streets on Earth Day.

      • Some of us will be pushing harder, some are grieving too hard to push after pushing hard for years and years, and we can all keep chatting up our friends and families who are still on the consumer train. It’s best if we stand shoulder to shoulder in solidarity with anyone who is concerned about global warming regardless of how their concern manifest in the here and now.

        For me, the most important that I strive for is to be kind and supportive of the others who recognize the problem and accept that there are a wide variety of responses and diversity of tactics that others choose as part of their response to the sixth great extinction.

        The Hindu proverb: There are hundreds of paths up the mountain, all leading to the same place, so it doesn’t matter which path you take. The only person wasting time is the one who runs around the mountain, telling everyone that his or her path is wrong.

      • The Hindu proverb: There are hundreds of paths up the mountain, all leading to the same place, so it doesn’t matter which path you take. The only person wasting time is the one who runs around the mountain, telling everyone that his or her path is wrong.

        For this problem, there is but one path, and no one is taking it. There’s been over 50 years of wishful thinking.

        Accordingly, all I am saying is that it is increasingly likely the problem just won’t be solved, not before some seriousness happens, and it’s worth, I think, spending some time, energy, and intellectual capital on what that might look like.

        This is nothing new for me. It is, for example, a stated purpose of my (personal) blog.

        This [b]log s devoted to opposing, as best as I can, “… that most natural of human tendencies: the triumph of hope over evidence” [1].

        I would say, too, that this predicament unfortunately coincides with a wave rejecting rationality and expertise which is presently in vogue in Western culture, as described in part in the recent book by J.E.H. Smith, Irrationality: A History of the Dark Side of Reason. It was reviewed by William Davies in his “Let’s eat badly” in the 5 December issue of the London Review of Books. (Davies is less enthusiastic about the thesis than Smith.) The wave will diminish, and be replaced once again by a rational wave, but the phasing is really bad.

        [1] This is a quote from Howard Wainer, in an article which appeared in CHANCE magazine, a publication of the American Statistical Association. The article was entitled “Defeating deception: Escaping the shackles of truthiness by learning to think like a data scientist“, 29(1), 2016, 61-64.

      • I share your outlook on the human species successfully addressing the global warming problem, EQ.

        The hindu proverb is about the mountain/problem of individually deciding how we live/what we think rather than suggesting a path forward to address global warming. That problem really seems to have one solution: stop burning stuff and creating CO2 gases and, as you say, we (collectively) are not taking that path.

        I think it is probably inaccurate to suggest that no one is taking the path that does not create global warming. I think many humans on the planet are in fact on a path that the planet could sustain. These folks are the lowest income 50% on the planet. These folks contribute 10% to the global warming problem.

        The folks in the top 50% don’t want to change the way we live and that group is causing 90% of the problem.

        It’s a complicated situation. Some say it’s a predicament.

  7. “…not before some seriousness happens…”

    Well, sure. Seriousness is happening now, and getting seriouser fast. So there is no possibility of coming out unscathed.

    But there’s still lots of territory to defend. And there will be lots of folks doing so. We aren’t bending the emissions curve yet, which is obviously the central thing, but we’re winning the public, which is a prerequisite. And the political class is starting to take notice.

  8. @smallbluemike, @Doc Snow, @Williard,

    Mike, an individual, or even a collection of individuals cannot do anything substantial. Not even a state like Massachusetts. Sure, they set examples — although I think to many people their examples are interpreted as their being smug and a bunch of killjoys — but to achieve the effect, they cannot.

    And political action is muted because, well, the vast majority don’t want to change their lifestyles. And, yes, there appears to be some impact, but, then, darn, there’s that climbing MLO CO2 concentration.

    Willard mentioned clathrates. Dr Twila Moon doesn’t worry about clathrates. She worries about permafrost. And that’s not methane, that’s CO2 emissions from organic decomposition.

    And, I’d say, coastal SLR looks more and more like it may be the seriousness, much sooner than even the most recent projections.

    I think visualizing details of the seriousness could be helpful, not to create alarm, but to put some details on “It’s gonna be bad”.

    • eq: “And political action is muted because, well, the vast majority don’t want to change their lifestyles.”

      Yes; for me that’s a practical problem, in that I’m trying to get them to turn out. To talk. To care. I certainly concur that it ain’t easy.

      However, I hang on to Fudd’s Law: “If you push something hard enough, it will fall over.” Obviously, the public hasn’t yet been pushed hard *enough*. Luckily, it isn’t only me, or us. It’s reality. And damn, reality can push hard.

      • @doc snow: I think that a significant part of the reason that we can’t turn out the public to get in the streets is that a lot of folks who used to be middle class are now members of the precariat. Their economic situation is simply too precarious to find extra time and money to engage in meaningful and time-consuming political activity. The changes in income and wealth inequality over the past 40 years have changed things dramatically for the rabble rousers. I think many care, but they are quite busy engaged in the reproduction of labor and we cannot turn out numbers that will force change from the folks on the receiving end of the income and wealth (power) shift.

        I say this with a lot of sadness, having spent the a good part of the last two decades working on organizing events and working to turn out a crowd, to strike a match to various situations of crisis and injustice. If you, and others who remain committed to that form of the struggle, can succeed where I failed, I will be very thankful and impressed by your energy and acumen. My circumstances have changed as I have aged and retired and I am more entrenched in the old, frail precariat than I have been in previous decades.

        That’s just the way it is for me. That’s the way I see it. Go get’m.


      • Maybe. “Precariat” is certainly a good and evocative word. I wonder, though; the folks who have less are often more active than the slightly more ‘fortunate’.

  9. eq: “I think visualizing details of the seriousness could be helpful, not to create alarm, but to put some details on “It’s gonna be bad”.”

    Absolutely. Concrete nouns move; abstract adjectives, not so much. Much as I respect the IPCC Assessment Reports, the writing fails to give much concrete idea of what “bad” looks like.