“Young people must hold older generations accountable”, Thunberg extorts.  Much to the dismay and anger of the older generations. This blame casting is not productive or conducive towards finding a solution to stop global climate change.
In her speech at the UN Climate Summit, her rhetoric was scattered with the accusative ‘you’ and ‘we’ pronouns. “You are failing us,” she told world leaders, “but the young people are starting to understand your betrayal”.  This blame game feels counterproductive. Our parents and grandparents were not responsible for the industrial revolution. They, in most cases, had no input in the decision to build societies on the burning of fossil fuels. Instead of using her vast platform to cast blame, she should be using it to promote solutions to the climate crisis. Previous generations did not have the luxury of worrying about the climate. They were dealing with fascism in Europe that threatened the lives of millions. They were dealing with conscription, poverty, the existential threat of the Cold War and the effects of globalisation. Greta's generation has been the most fortunate generation in history. Instead of forced child labour, they were able to sit on Instagram and Facebook. Instead of going hungry, they enjoyed a level of oppulance that previous generations could only dream of. Instead of blaming previous generations for not being concerned with global warming, she should thank them. It is the generations that went before her, that afforded her the luxury to care about the environment. Without them, she may have been too malnourished, overworked and under-educated to have any notion of environmentalism. Instead of squabbling about who caused the catastrophe, wouldn’t we achieve more if we came together in search of a solution?
Blame is not a distraction but a central component of the solution. As the primary drivers of climate change, there can be no justification for those in the developed world to emit greenhouse gases at a higher per capita rate than those in the developing world that will suffer the consequences. The blame is inescapable. The highly developed nations in the West enjoyed the comforts that the burning of fossil fuels provided. They have built their societies on a practice that if left unchecked, will eventually make our planet uninhabitable. As we move forward, acknowledging this blame and taking financial responsibility for the environmental damage caused is essential for the development and implementation of solutions. Only by being explicit about which nations are to blame for the climate crisis can we ensure the worst offenders meet their obligations to those suffering the consequences and reduce their greenhouse emissions.
[P1] Greta uses her speeches to admonish and blame. [P2] This is a distraction from finding solutions and is often misplaced. [P3] Therefore, Greta is a distraction.
[Rejecting P2] Blame is not a distraction but a central part of the solution.