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Tuesday, July 14, 2020 ARCHIVES  |  SEARCH  |  POST ADS  |  ADVERTISE  |  SUBSCRIBE   |  LOGIN   |  CONTACT US

Greta vs Man

Hamed Fakhro

It was a bad day to be at sea. Despite the long summer sun, the Atlantic Ocean was a cold and unforgiving host. As Greta left the English Channel an icy squall screamed in her ears, pulling at her clothes and hair that flailed like a tattered flag in a storm. The Ocean was an unfamiliar dark green, and the deeper she looked the blacker it became. Cloudy grey skies filled the horizon, and the setting sun didn’t have a say in the matter. The weather reflected her mood; a dark foul feeling of resentment at what man has done to the planet. Below them, a species of shark went extinct.

Greta’s zero-emission sailboat came across a white patch in the ever-darkening ocean. The water was black, so a white spot seemed oddly out of place. Was it a sandbar? It was impossible at these depths where whales and mermaids lived. As the expert skipper navigated his way around it, the island crystallised into a solid object. It was a floating island of plastic. Beyond the horizon was another patch but much larger. The debris went as far as the eye could see, and it represented humanity’s carelessness and waste. Milk cartons, barrels, plastic bags, and a myriad of random branded stuff just floated around, entangled and herding each other into a giant floating island of death. Ironically a sea bird gently landed on a Pantene shampoo container and stared at the boat curiously. A few hundred miles North, a glacier cracked in half and fell quietly into the Ocean.

Greta bit her lip and suppressed a tear of rage. It wasn’t supposed to be like this. She was supposed to have a normal childhood. She wasn’t supposed to worry about Earth, mass extinction, plastics, global warming, and limited resources. She was sixteen. Didn’t she deserve to romp in the secret world of teens, and leave adulthood for the adults? Greta had more intelligence and wisdom than most world leaders and was going to be heard. Her destination: Now York Climate Summit, where politicians congregate and promise sweet nothings to the mics and cameras. Her main target: A large orange man, whose ego and insecurity pushed him to undo every policy his predecessor set. Trump. A blight on humanity, who blatantly and loudly believes global warming is a hoax and proclaims windmills cause cancer. In the Amazon basin, a giant fire raged on.

Greta made it to New York and was received by green activists and rational humans as a hero. She symbolised nature. No, she was mother nature embodied as a teen. Incorruptible, passionate and loud. She would speak for a decimated nature. She would cry for forgotten extinct species. And she would plead a final plea, as humanity surges towards the point of no return. As dozens of species go extinct daily (as opposed to the natural background rate of five per year), as our waters warm and glaciers melt, and as our temperatures become more extreme it seems as if we are still celebrating economic growth as the main achievement. Humanity has forgotten itself and is lost in a forest of material wealth and prosperity. In the ocean a turtle slowly strangles on a plastic bag.

As the embodiment of economic progress and selfish interests crossed her path, Greta scowled glaringly at President Trump. Like a factory spewing filth into a river he was blissfully unaware of her presence. The cameras caught that moment and it became an instant social media classic. After Greta’s heartfelt impassioned plea to the world, as tears of rage and anguish fell on her face there was a single response from the leader of the free world. Trump mockingly tweeted: “She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!” The stage is set. Little Greta vs Old angry useless men. Nature versus humans. Mother nature always wins. I hope Greta wins too.