The Pearl and the Dinosaurs

Greta

– as a girls’ name is pronounced GREH-tah. It is of German and Greek origin, and the meaning of Greta is “pearl”. Short form of Margaret. Made famous by actress Greta Garbo. Marathon runner Greta Waitz.

Source – Think Baby Names

Greta Thunberg FRSGS (born 3 January 2003) is a Swedish teenage environmental activist on climate change whose campaigning has gained international recognition. Thunberg first became known for her activism in August 2018 when, at age 15, she began spending her school days outside the Swedish parliament to call for stronger action on global warming by holding up a sign saying (in Swedish) “School strike for climate”.

Source: Wikipedia

Dinosaur

noun

  • 1.a fossil reptile of the Mesozoic era, in many species reaching an enormous size.
  • 2.a person or thing that is outdated or has become obsolete because of failure to adapt to changing circumstances.

    Source: Oxford Dictionaries

(P.S. Dinosaurs, after ruling Earth for 230 million years, became extinct 66 million years ago, due to catastrophic climate change)

You may not know this, but to your kids, you are a dinosaur. Maybe not all the time, but at one time or another, you are a dinosaur. In the day, we also thought of our parents in this fashion, only we called them square, uncool, etc. Let’s face it, as adults we all tend to be set in our ways, afraid of change and often unwilling to listen to opinions that do not agree with our opinion.

So it was, last night, that our son thanked us “tongue in cheek” by text for going to the Climate Change Action in Edmonton today. My wife replied, “How did you know”? The truth was that we had planned to go in any case. It is a world event , after all and as retirees, we had no time conflicts.

I must admit, I was not enthused. I saw this as nothing more than a shouting match between oil detractors and proponents. To some extent, I was right, but, most of the shouting came from the oil side.

But, I digress. We were in Edmonton to do some shopping and timed our chores to tie in with the Climate Change protest. We popped by the Legislature around 11 AM and not much was happening. The news crews, police and security had already staked their claims on prime viewing spots. High above, helicopters circled.

We opted to walk toward where the March was being organized and headed up to Capital Plaza, where bicycle police were mobilizing.

After a brief stop, we walked to Beaver Hills Park where the march was assembling. The crowd was impressive, noisy and chanting call and response slogans. It was a bit disconcerting to see a few attendees wearing camouflage and face masks, but this was Edmonton. We would be safe, right?


After, what seemed an interminable period of time, the march was ready to go, but first, there was a 10 minute long photo op for the press. At this point, there was still no sign of Greta.

Photos taken, the march surged forward, slowly gathering momentum. As it passed us, we joined in for a part of the route.

Rather than stay with the march, we opted to head for the Leg to get a good spot from which to watch the proceedings. On arrival, the crowd had certainly grown. Helicopters were still circling.

While waiting for the march to arrive, there were:

… plenty of signs to read.

…lots of chants and plenty of speeches. At points, it seemed that the real message was being lost, as the marginalized each clamoured for their chance to speak.

At long last, the marchers arrived, slowly making their way towards the stage. The crowd was huge at this point and progress was slow.

More speeches, some songs, some prayers and then a roar went through the crowd. Straining to see, we finally found her in the group in the stage. She was so tiny. Why did she strike such fear into the hearts of grown men? Why is she getting death threats and hate mail?

The speeches ran on and on and on and it seemed even Greta was getting bored with it all. Sensing this, the MC finally called her up at to speak about 1:30. She spoke in a bright, clear voice. She did not shout, she did not cry, she did not threaten. She simply told it like it is. We are at a turning point. If we are to survive, we need to transition away from fossil fuels. She promoted protecting and retraining the workers affected.

Her brief speech over, she left the stage and the crowd quickly dispersed. Somewhere nearby, the feeble bleating of truck horns and and shouts of the counter protesters were lost in the chatter of the crowd. Greta had done her job. She had made those who heard her, think.

In my mind, oil corporation and government officials missed a golden opportunity by not meeting with and welcoming Greta to our City and province. Only, through the understanding and cooperation of both sides will we be able to move forward to resolve the issues.

Throughout life, we always have choices. This time is no different, but the repercussions for inaction are more dire. Will we be pearls or will we be dinosaurs? Only time will tell.

14 thoughts on “The Pearl and the Dinosaurs

    1. As long as people merely hear without listening, we will be at a stalemate. Meaningful dialogue only happens with respect. So far, neither activists nor big business respect or trust the other. That has to change. Fingers crossed. Thanks for reading. Allan

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Agreed! In reality we need the expertise and investment that business can bring to the table to help facilitate a transition to clean energy. Business needs to hear and address the concerns of consumers and be better stewards of resources.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. My husband made an interesting point about why she chose Canada and not Iran or Iraq to try to make changes.
    Not that I’m against some change for the environment but it’s just interestibh that Canada is painted as the big bad guy and I don’t think we are the biggest producer of oil by far.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Fair point, but, in feeling singled out, we are still missing the point. The current energy process is unsustainable in its present format for the long term. Change has to start somewhere. The American and European companies were and are involved in the oil production centers throughout the world. She has started with them. Based on the hate mail and death threats she now gets, one can understand why she can not go to the more dangerous areas of the world. Heck, I would not even go there. Instead of retrenching into anger and hate, we need to start the process of discussing next steps to move forward in the right direction so we can all win. Cooperation instead of corporation. I find it interesting that the word Economy which “originally meant the careful management of available resources” has become “the wealth and resources for a country or region”. Maybe, we need to put the economy back in our economy. One step that would go along way to helping the transition would be to stop importing oil, using only Canadian oil in our country. Very protectionist, almost Trumpian, but if we can’t get a pipeline to take it to different markets, sell it to our own market. Just a thought. Thanks for reading Bernie. Allan

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  2. Also give us, the end consumer, a break to buy a hybrid or an electric car. Then make them useable. One can’t drive from Saskatoon to Edmonton without a 4 hours stop in Lloyd as there is no super charging station. I travel 4 hours to my mom’s regularly and there would be no charging station along the way.
    You are right in that if industry got redirected into this field there would be jobs. Imagine the car industry revolutionized in Canada for electric cars. It’s a win win

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Totally agree. I drive a hybrid, which gives some carbon relief, but I am under no illusion. The carbon creation was just at a different location, but there must be some point where carbon reduction in driving exceeds the carbon created during battery production. A total electric car may be the solution, if speed and distance can be improved and proper charging stations installed at required locations. This is where the petro companies can get involved to continue being of service. Cheers Bernie. Allan

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    1. Here is where the symbolism really rings true. A pearl starts out as a grain of sand that irritates its host to the point, where it covers it with a protective layer that when polished shows true beauty. It takes a long time to make a pearl. Let us hope we have that time and the tenacity to find a beautiful solution. Thanks for reading Ann. Allan

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    1. Yup. She had to wait a long time for her 5 minute speech. Have you seen her Tedx talk. It is on You Tube and explains a lot. I did not know she has Aspergers. Also, the speech that caused such a stir was her speech to the UN. I am with you. The time for denial is over. As they say, De Nial is a river in Egypt. Thanks for reading. Allan

      Liked by 1 person

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