The GOOD Guide to COP15: The Fire this Time: Copenhagen and the War for the Future
You wouldn't think a war could start over such simple ideas.To be young and aware is to see old people-from the U.S. Senate to Wall Street, from newspaper editorial desks to corporate boardrooms-stalling action on every front, spouting platitudes about "balance," committing themselves wholeheartedly to actions to be undertaken long after they've retired and died. To be told that the world's scientists are participating in a giant hoax; to be chided for not understanding how the real world works; to be warned that doing the right thing will bankrupt us; to be told that not wanting to melt the ice caps and circle the equator in deserts makes you too radical to take seriously.To be young and aware is to know you're being lied to; to know that a bright green future is possible; to know that we can reimagine the world, rebuild our cities, redesign our lives, retool our factories, distribute innovation and creativity and all live in a world that is not only better than the alternative, but much better than the world we have now.To be young and aware is to suspect that, in the end, the debate about climate action isn't about substance, but about rich old men trying to squeeze every last dollar, euro, and yen from their investments in outdated industries. It is to agree with the environmentalist Paul Hawken that we have an economy that steals the future, sells it in the present, and calls it GDP. It is to begin to see your elders as cannibals with golf clubs.Myself, I worry: not that the young grow radical-hell, if I were 10 years younger, I'd be on the barricades myself-but that they grow despondent. Because what the world needs now, more than ever, is what the young have always given most: their optimism.So if nothing else happens in Copenhagen, I pray that all of us who have years and a voice and a conscience will say at least this to the world's youth: Your fight is ours, too. Don't give up.
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