We don't have time to feel guilty!

We don't have time to feel guilty!

It's time for us adults to start talking about our anxieties and fears for the future - and what we can actually do.

It's the first day back at work after summer vacation for all of us in Ducky. Now we start working on getting Norwegian high schools to join the first National Climate Championship. Pupils and teachers will compete in cutting their emissions by doing daily climate friendly activities. Such as turning off lights, taking shorter showers and reducing food waste. 


But the first day back at work isn't going as planned.

We barely get in the door before we start talking about the turmoil in our body after the holidays. Heat records in Europe, earthfall in Jølster, severe rainfall and meltings to record levels in Greenland. Young people all over the world are demonstrating. While adults sit at home smiling, paying tribute to their dedication - because it's great to see that they're willing to save the planet.

As adults we're mostly concerned about whether or not we should feel ashamed for flying, while posting endless photos from our summer holidays on social media. Happy toes, bubbles in glasses and athletic achievements from far and near.

 

Restless. We have to get outside and get some fresh air.

We take a walk in Trondheim's pedestrian street, where we meet an acquaintance. He's feeling the same turmoil and we talk about it. Strange. It feels unfamiliar.

Usually, our generation - adults 30+ - lower their eyes when climate becomes a topic of conversation. Because few of our well-educated and resourceful friends have the guts to click 'like' on a Facebook post from Greta Thunberg. But the same adults have no problem engaging in the refugee situation in the Mediterranean or get angry about untimely statements from political opponents.

But mention the climate crisis. Dead silence. Because: Only the very brave dare to talk about the climate panel's latest report. Here, scientists say it will be impossible to keep the planet's temperatures at a reasonable level without cutting emissions from transport, industry and power generation. 

 

It's elections in Norway.

In Dagsrevyen (the daily reviews), Jonas Gahr Støre promises free school meals for all kids, if Arbeiderpartiet (Norwegian political party) wins the elections, while scientists are concerned about the world's food production.

Nobody is talking about how Norway is going to manage to cut emissions by 40% by 2030. We have committed to that reduction. But how are we going to do it exactly?

The truth is that we haven't reduced our emissions in 30 years. In addition, we export ten times the greenhouse gas emission that we produce and continue to invest billions in exploration in more oil and gas. If the person who's going to put out the lights on the Norwegian shelf isn't born yet, it means that Norwegian authorities are betting for Norway to be an oil nation for at least 70 more years. So until at least 2089? What does the world look like then? 

The science is clear: The longer we wait to cut emissions, the worse it gets. And we're not talking about it.


Changes the world has never seen before.

Researchers say that the climate- and environmental crisis requires changes the world has never before seen. We have to think new and act quickly in every part of society: with ordinary people, politicians, the financial industry, industry and those who develop new technology. In cities and on the countryside. Nationally and globally.

We have to stop pointing fingers at each other and distribute guilt and shame. We must forget about our own offense and start talking about the seriousness and fears. Our world is changing right outside our window. The weather is no longer what it used to be and nature - what we're a part of - is struggling.

We need to start talking about how, we as humans and as a society, can cope with extreme weather, landslides, forest fires and great uncertainty. We must start talking about our new reality. If not, the turmoil will become unmanageable for many. And we need to start talking about everything we can do together. Because it's a lot!

 

More than 6000 pupils in Telemark and Trøndelag have shown that it's possible.

Pupils competed against each other in teams and saved emissions corresponding to flying 27 times around the earth.

If all Norwegians copied the top 20 classes in the climate championship for a year, the savings would be equivalent to 40% of Norway's total annual carbon emissions.

So it matters! Together we can do a lot, but we need forward-thinking and courageous politicians who are leading the way in order to implement the much-needed major structural changes.

And that's why your personal commitment matters now more than ever.

The young people have realized this. But when will we adults look up from our glistening toenails at sunset? 

And forget about your own offense if you posted a toe image this summer. That means you've misunderstood this blog post. For us you can share whatever you want as long as you wake up to reality.

 

Mona Sprenger

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