ENVI Committee - Exchange of views with Swedish environment activist Greta Thunberg

Greta Thunberg

Conscious Soul

Through her courage and work with the realities of our time, Greta Thunberg is a model for enlivened thinking and the rejection of dead thoughts and forms.

In an interview on December 27, 2021, Greta Thunberg gave an update on her thinking about the climate crisis. She said the recent COP26 conference on climate was only a PR event and a failure, noting that in the final document “they even watered down the ‘blah blah blah.’ Until now they had never even mentioned fossil fuels as the source of the problem, and now when they finally did, they changed the wording from “phasing out” to “phasing down.” She said that until something is set forth that actually leads to increased ambition, the document doesn’t mean anything.

A Decision Point

Rudolf Steiner’s series of 29 meditations on The Michael Mystery, given at the end of his life between August 1924 and March 1925 frame his thoughts in the context of the development of the Consciousness Soul. He notes that we are at a decision point. Will we choose to enliven our dead, abstract thoughts with living, independent forces from the spiritual world, or will we continue on the current path of destruction, seeing the world only materially?

Countless people are already bearing the brunt of the climate crisis, and have been doing so for a long time. This is not just a problem of the future. Thunberg notes that the principles we need to understand are time and resource-related. In other words, we have very limited time, we are using up the carbon dioxide budget right now, no matter which carbon dioxide budget you go for, and that cannot be undone in the future. The goal of keeping warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius is not safe. It is already 1.1 or 1.2, and people are already suffering. This is here and now.

Enlivened Moral Thinking to Meet the Crisis

Our clear thoughts need to be enlivened by the moral imperatives of the cosmos. Greta gives an example of this when she says: “Since there are no binding agreements that safely put us towards a safe future for life on Earth as we know it, that means that we have to use morals, and we have to be able to feel empathy with one another. That is all we have right now. Some people say that we shouldn’t use guilt or this sense of morality. But that is, quite frankly, the only thing that we have to use. So, therefore, we have to use it. And we have to make sure that we don’t lose that connection. We have to realize that we’re in it for the long run and that we need to take care of each other.”

Finally, when asked if she can imagine what the world looks like in 30 years, she says “I have no idea. I try not to think about that too much. I try to rather do as much as I can in the now and change the future instead of overthinking the future. Hopefully, we will take care of this, however that would look. But no matter what happens, if we continue to ignore it, the consequences are going to be much, much worse.”

That Good May Become

Greta Thunberg. Photo: Marcus Ohlsson; originally published in The Washington Post Magazine

In her will to act, enlivening the idea of the reality of the physics of global warming with the moral forces available to humanity, Greta is an inspiring example of a conscious soul, meeting the needs of our time. Her gaze in this recent photo asks a question: “Are you aware of the severity of the crisis we are in?” Perhaps her chin in her hand is an expression of the weight she feels of how little consciousness we have. Yet, along with this, one can sense in her a feeling of hope, of not giving up, of an enduring commitment. Can we take this as inspiration and found with our hearts and direct with our heads, so that good can come from our conscious willing?

Image: Greta Thunberg during the ENVI Committee in the European Parliament on March 4th, 2020. Photo: Laurie Dieffembacq. Source: EP/ European Union 2020

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