Swedish girl, Greta Thunberg, age 16 has not let her diagnosis of Asperger syndrome; ADHD, OCD and selective mutism slow her down. On August 20, 2018, the ninth grader decided to protest every Friday outside the Swedish legislature. She wanted the Swedish government to reduce carbon emissions in accordance with the Paris Agreement. She was able to gain worldwide attention. She inspired school students across the globe to take part in student strikes, to demand world leaders act on climate change. This month, up to 1.4 million children around the world participated in a global climate strike.
The power of one person making a difference to change the planet has led Greta to being nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. Thunberg addressed the United Nations climate change summit, December 4, 2018. That same month, Time magazine named Greta one of the world’s 25 most influential teenagers of 2018. She was nominated for the Telge Energi’s Children’s Climate Prize for young people who promote sustainable development. She declined the prize because the finalists would have to fly to Stockholm. To lower her family’s carbon footprint, her family had become vegetarians and given up flying. She worried that her children and grandchildren would ask her why people had not taken action in 2018 when there was still time, to fight climate change. This 16-year-old girl (with her own physical ailments) has put the weight of the world on her shoulders and got the world to listen.
Well, maybe not the entire world. Here in the US our citizens are lifting our weight up into gas guzzling SUV’s. At Ford, trucks and SUVs account for more than 80 percent of sales. That percentage will only get bigger because Ford is discontinuing production of most of its car line. Retail sales for the nine passenger Ford Expedition were up 35 percent last year. Sales for the nine passenger Lincoln Navigator grew 70 percent making it the vehicle’s best sales year. Because of the huge demand for these two SUVs, the company is creating 550 jobs at its Louisville, Kentucky plant, but employees from the company’s nearby assembly plant will fill the positions.
In 2009 Ford received a $5.9 billion loan from the Department of Energy to build more fuel-efficient vehicles. In 2016, Ford was named, Interbrand’s Best Global Green Brand. Ford was working hard to meet strict fuel economy standards. Then, in 2018, Ford along with the rest of the auto industry lobbied to overturn those standards. Making fuel-efficient cars has been abandoned in favor of making the big profits that come with more expensive SUVs. Vehicles accounts for 14 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. The return to gas hog vehicles is all on the consumer, not Ford. Ford tried to build fuel efficient vehicles and the buying pubic wasn’t interested in buying them. So Ford is responding to the demand for big SUVs and happy about it as it means more money for their stockholders. “Green cars” were replaced with Suvs that make the company huge green dollars. Car customers feel that gas prices are low so they can afford to drive these gas guzzling behemoths. Ford will be much more susceptible to the ill effects of rising oil prices. One severe oil price spike could send consumers back to passenger cars, the ones Ford is no longer making. What could go wrong? What is that saying about not learning from history? We are only one weather disaster or an instance of political instability in an oil region away from an oil shortage. The real price of gas would increase greatly if we quit subsidizing oil producers.
For now in the US consumers are sticking us with SUVs, the junk food of automobiles. Now we have Ford, Dodge and Chevrolet giving us gas guzzling giant vehicles. Add that to other corporations pumping out pesticides, military grade weapons, GMOs and fracking companies and we are looking at one unhealthy planet. There is no Planet B so what are we to do?
Perhaps these giant SUVs and trucks are doing something on their own to save the planet. Bert Henriksen’s 2017 Ford Explorer might be aiding Greta Thunberg’s effort to prevent climate change. You see Bert’s Explorer and 3,000 other Ford Explorers, (including ones used by police departments) are suspected of trying to poison their owners. These owners have been getting erratic and angry and having headaches while driving their Explorers. A blood test revealed that Henriksen has been exposed to toxic levels of carbon monoxide gas. Ford’s attempt to fix the vehicles interior environment problem has not worked. Explorer owners have now filed more than 50 lawsuits against Ford. I believe these Explorers are trying to tell their owners…….buy a smaller fuel-efficient vehicle. Perhaps these SUV’s should be called, smart cars. After all, they are smarter than their owners.
I think we can do better. The answer is to listen to Greta and the voices of our children and grandchildren. We need to aid these children by demanding climate change and taking on corporate lobby owned politicians that deny climate change. The best inheritance we can leave Greta and our future generations is a clean and sustainable planet.
If we wait too long I’m afraid a coalition from other planets will destroy Earth to save the galaxy. May the force be with us!
“We need a new law that owners of SUVs are automatically in the military reserve. Then they can go get their own goddamn Oil.” ~ Jello Biafra