Greta Thunberg, Our World’s Prophet for a New Silent Spring
Gary Null PhD
Progressive Radio Network, September 19, 2019
Late last autumn, a young 16 year old Swedish teenager, Greta Thunberg, started a silent protest against what she observed was a lack of conviction and commitment in our civilization and consumer society to address the existential threats we face from climate change. Whether it is due to our intentional neglect of the crisis, Greta worries that people are disinclined to accept the truth of their own culpability and responsibility in how we think, how we live and what we purchase. We are addicted to an unnecessary abundance of clothes, the latest versions of laptops and mobile phones, homes larger than our needs, fossil fuel guzzling vehicles, and a diet that is both self-destructive to our personal health but also the environment. Our civilization’s mantra is “spend, use and throw away.” Unlike most millennials, and certainly Generation X and the Baby Boomers, Greta is acutely aware that without the stirrings of a mass global movement, humanity and countless other species are imperiled.
Several people took notice of her solitary protests. Overnight she became a lightning rod, speaking truth against power. She gave blistering, acidic talks before the 5,000 member Davos billionaires club, the British Parliament and the United Nations General Assembly. In less than a year, a million students throughout Europe have joined her to strike and protest against climate change and the degradation of the environment.
One Friday earlier this year, my film crew and I went to the United Nations on the East side of Manhattan where a 13 year old American student Alexandria Villasenor had taken up Greta’s cause and example. She had her poster and sat alone in silent protest. Speaking and filming her for a forthcoming documentary on climate change and the sixth extinction, I found her to be well-informed about the most important climate issues that our leaders in business and government willfully ignore, and more often outright deny.
Imagine our surprise that as over a million students are protesting in Europe, on this side of the Great Pond there is only a single student in our city’s population of 8.6 million people. We can only ask why in our nation addicted to massive consumption, living a life detached from reality, that citizens choose to not inconvenience themselves to look in the mirror and acknowledge that we are each part of the problem and purposely run away from being part of the solution. Whining changes nothing; yet it is characteristic of American culture’s self-indulgence. Rather we increase our use of plastic, consume more meat and GMO laced foods. The upper professional class on Wall Street, Silicon Valley, Big Ag and Pharma, the military industrial complex and Washington expand their lifestyles that only further fuels global warming. And the nation’s 42 million adolescents (ages 10 to 19) will be paying the long-term consequences from this systemic denialism to keep the engine of neoliberal capital growth and progress churning. There is no evidence that we can commit ourselves to living more ecologically and sustainable lives.
Now Greta has arrived in America. She did not accompany Leonardo Di Caprio on a private jet, but on the power of the ocean’s winds in a sailboat. This Friday, September 20, she will be rallying teenagers across the nation to go on strike. This is a positive and opportunist moment and she should receive our full support. It is entirely possible she could have a million students join her and initiate a breakthrough in awareness for people to become more environmentally responsible for their behaviors and habits of consumption. Is it not ironic that a 16 year old Swedish teenager with Asperger’s is perhaps the most important voice for saving ourselves and the planet?
If saving the planet from ourselves is not enough, there is another equally large issue on our immediate horizon. That is the devastating environmental and health consequences of the newest Silicon Valley and Wall Street technological toy: 5G or what has been coined the “internet of everything.” And since it will be the millennials and younger generations who will inherit and rely most heavily upon this technology, they will be embracing it without properly discerning its potential adverse impact on their future. We already witness how private industry and the media target certain populations and groups. Just like the ads for McDonalds and Coca-Cola, we are never told the truth of the consequences of consuming their products. And 5G may very well be our new dark specter to replace OxyContin.
We can choose the foods we wish to eat or the technologies we buy and use. But there will be no escaping the electromagnetic frequencies of 5G once it is rolled out in your city or town. We will all be victims. And we need an honest equivalent of Greta Thunberg, a charismatic presence, to help launch a massive strike against 5G. It is estimated that there are over 10,000 peer-reviewed studies mentioning EMF’s serious biomolecular injury and defects to organs, neurons, cells and cellular function, and DNA damage to plants, animals and humans alike. Within a 2 year period — August 2016 to September 2018 — over 400 new studies on EMF risks were compiled at the University of California at Berkeley. And tens of thousands of scientists have been writing letters and publicizing warnings to governments about 5G’s potential to trigger a technological holocaust. Nevertheless, despite all of the damning science, Millennials and teenagers remain largely unaware of the serious threats they will be placing themselves by buying into 5G’s faux promises.
Our government and mainstream media, including the New York Times, are complicit in hiding the truth from the American public. It is a repeat of the 1940s and 1950s when our officials praised the benefits of widespread spraying of the DDT neurotoxin on of millions acres of land while proclaiming it was safe. But it took only one person, a marine biologist from Maine, Rachel Carson, to expose the dangers in her book Silent Spring and raise an awareness that on scientific matters of safety, the government cannot be trusted.
Greta Thunberg may very well be the Rachel Carson of our time. She does not suffer fools gladly. With each public talk, she is creating a new manifesto for a new Silent Spring.