Listen to Greta Thunberg’s “I Have A Dream” speech

Listen to Greta Thunberg’s “I Have A Dream” speech

By Jan Oberg

April 17, 2019

The amazing person and phenomenon called Greta Thunberg can be looked at from many perspectives. What connects them all is the energies of hope.

Thus, for instance, her own personal story and what drives her so passionately – and scientifically – at the age of only 16.

Or, how she is challenging the entire global establishment as a youth leader not allowed to vote herself but demanding that decision-makers take into account the millions and millions she speaks for as well as the yet unborn generations.

That’s a non-contractual, non-reciprocal way of thinking foreign to Western culture’s “I do something for you if/when you do something for me”. And you can’t ask something in return from the yet unborn.

Or, how the role she plays now makes visible and catapults a fundamentally moral criticism into the political discourse where it hasn’t existed, I would say, for decades.

Or, how her role on the global stage is a message too of the decline of the Occident which, thanks to its dominant thinking, economic system and action as (mastering) “First World,” is the main causal factor behind the catastrophic environmental Accident we now witness.

It could be added that that world has ignored virtually all the warnings since Rachel Carson’s pathbreaking book, Silent Spring (1962) over Club of Rome (its “Limits To growth” came in 1972) to recent future research reports. It has never, in concrete political and legal action, taken the civilisational challenge seriously. Greta reminds those elites about that and with her deep personal commitment she challenges every citizen who, consciously or not, take part in the strongest of all ideologies: consumerism – which engulfs no longer only the West.

Or, – finally – one can look at her as yet another historical proof of just how strong nonviolence is and how effective it is in getting a message through and win sympathy for a cause through it.

I mean, imagine Thunberg and her parents had been adhering to some kind of violence – throwing stones outside the parliament, letting a bomb go off, setting some consumerist shopping mall ablaze. Then the world would have talked about the violence, the perpetrator herself, the damage, the “terrorism” movement of the times that she was part of – and the main issue, her main issue, would have been lost. (What a pity that so many change-makers don’t understand anything of that...)

No wonder, this deep thinking and brilliant humanist moralist says that she is inspired by Rosa Parks, the woman whose civil disobedience act in Montgomery, Alabama in 1955 ignited the civil rights movement and opened up to the fundamental and enduring influence on moral minds of that movement and to Dr Martin Luther King, Jr.

TFF intends to publish more about Greta Thunberg in the future.

She and the movement she has created deserve it – in and of themselves. But also – importantly – because peace means nonviolence (abstain from bad) and preservation and actualization of potentials (action for good) between individuals, between nations, between cultures and between humankind and Nature in the largest sense.

In that framework, Greta Thunberg is a staunch nonviolent and deeply impressive peace-with-Nature activist and those of us working for nonviolence in the other relations and dimensions – including nuclear abolition – should join hands with her.

We are, after all, movers and shakers in the service of a much better, still possible, world. One with much less violence and more peace.

Until further, watch Thunberg’s moving speech held in front of EU leaders on April 16, 2019 in which she urges all, with brilliant reference to the Notre Dame fire, to act as if our civilization’s house is on fire.

And panic just a bit. Now.

A speech that may well turn out to have an “I Have A Dream” speech quality and potential…

And here Martin Luther King Jr:

6 Responses to "Listen to Greta Thunberg’s “I Have A Dream” speech"

  1. Pingback: Climate crisis: Imagine, perhaps life is for real and everything we do matters | The Transnational

  2. thvestby   April 19, 2019 at 6:33 pm

    I wonder where my comments to JO from last night ended up?

  3. thvestby   April 18, 2019 at 9:20 pm

    Good interpretation of her agenda, makes it more human. But what is the point of banging on somebody (politicians, parents) who have discussed this for 10-20 years. To me it is an example that democracy cannot solve it. I would recommend Greta to pair up with the Pope. His latest Ladato Si has the solution, school strikes not. (even if the Pope urged her to keep on) Well, after Luther we know that the Pope not always are right).

  4. thvestby   April 18, 2019 at 8:51 pm

    Where have all the school striking students learned that their parents have ruined their future?

    • JO   April 18, 2019 at 9:12 pm

      Thanks, I do not think that it should be understood so literally. What Greta seems to me to express is something like this “You say you love your children (= next generations) so much – why then have you not done more to make the world a good, sustainable place to live for us?”. I think it is a statement about the responsibility one generation has towards the next, the young and – more generations ahead – the yet unborn. I do not think there is the slightest risk that Greta Thunberg is trying to mobilize some anger or hatred.

      Hers is, as I hear it, a much more philosophical approach to human responsibilities – where everybody talks only about their rights. And then we are back to Gandhi “There are no rights without duties”. I for one do not think that our elite leaders and we as consuming citizens really have lived up to our generational responsibilities. If we had, the Earth would have looked better today. That is what I am trying to say in the 3rd-5th paragraph.

      There are lots of interesting analyses and books about global (versus Christian neighbourhood) ethics and about environmental ethics. I myself been inspired by thinkers as different as Hans Jonas and E. F. Schumacher – and you may also consult Albert Schweitzer and his concept of reverence for life. He says: “”Ethics is nothing other than Reverence for Life. Reverence for Life affords me my fundamental principle of morality, namely, that good consists in maintaining, assisting and enhancing life, and to destroy, to harm or to hinder life is evil.”

  5. John Graversgaard   April 17, 2019 at 2:49 pm

    She has a strong personality and a global pespective. An inspiration for a new generation.


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