I am not jealous. Unlike Ms. Thunberg, I don't need to throw away my education while obsessing with a cause. I don't crave to be in the international stage, and I don't need to boast about how I'm saving the world and doing my part. I recycle. I encourage my company to institute recycling, and I don't overblow talking points, which leads me to the final point: Having a degree in meteorology qualifies me more than Ms. Thunberg to talk about climate change and the effects at the moment. For starters, my position has been clear that climate change IS happening (and members know I have not strayed from that)..
I appreciate your understanding and your position; you, more than anyone else on this topic, understand the reality, the challenge, and potential devastation these changes are making to the earth we all must share. I am not so sure, though, that the young lady is "throwing away her education"; indeed, she is sharing what she has learned with a skeptical or dismissive world, and - with the uninhibited optimism of a young person who truly believes she can change the world - hoping her voice will encourage others to look at the facts and resolve to make the changes necessary for the survival of future generations.
Should we tackle the problem? Yes. Better to be safe than sorry while becoming energy efficient. But what Ms. Thunberg fails to consider (and it's easy to when everything is "free") is that nations have different priorities at the moment. While international agreements can be made, it has to be delicately balanced with economic interest. The US can switch off all its oil refineries and coal plants tomorrow, but there goes our power supply and thousands, if not millions, of jobs (and those are just the direct jobs). The US has spent trillions in war machinery and could divert that money to climate change. Yes, but channeling trillions from one industry to another immediately is a bait and switch because while you prop up one industry you've just potentially destroyed another (whether war machinery needs to exist is a separate argument).
I haven't heard anyone say that the US should "switch off all its refineries and coal plants tomorrow", but I do see a reluctance on the part of our current "leadership" - and I use that term advisedly - to even look at the potential of becoming a world leader in industries that would replace those plants, much less to actually inform policies that would encourage that growth. We are letting our short-term objectives outweigh our long-term needs (with great support from the lobbyists and political class with a vested interest in that, of course).
Instead, we are letting other countries - particularly China - take that role. That predicts a poor future for the USA.
It was the wrong message sent from the wrong person. Give me someone from an island country (Maldives, Tuvalu, Kiribati...) whose homes are threatened by rising sea water. Give me someone from a place with glaciers that have retreated significantly (and therefore threatens their water supply). Give me someone from Sudan or Ethiopia or Somalia where the drought has caused hardship. THOSE would have a much better claim to say "you stole my childhood with your inaction on climate change".
She's the wrong person, from the wrong country, to be making the comments she's making, most people outside the millennial generation understand this.
It would be great if someone from from the Maldives or Tuvalu or Kiribati stepped up and called the world's attention to their plight - but no one has. With the dangers of climate change bearing down upon us, we can't be selective about the messinger. In truth, millions could be saying "you stole my childhood with your inaction on climate change" - and, in many places, young people have already taken to the streets to show their concern - but if Miss Thunberg is the one who has captured the ears of the media and of the world's political leaders, so be it.
Don't blame her for it. Blame our own political inaction.