The idea for “small steps café” comes from the title of Greta Thunberg’s book, “No one is too small to make a difference” (Penguin, 2019).
Her point is that each of us can make some kind of positive contribution to the situation that we find ourselves in, no matter how small. In her capacity as a school student, she refused to go to school on Fridays in what she called her Skolstrejk för klimatet. Where ever we are on the planet, and where ever we are in our lives, there are certain things that we can do, no matter how small. Part of the gravity of our situation is that there has never been as issue so important, and at the same time, so many people have never felt so powerless.
Small steps café is really a blog about just that… small steps that each of us as individuals can take. Whilst some small steps are doubtless more important or more impactful than others, they are nonetheless steps. I believe that the point is not to judge, but to actually do something. It is only by doing that we can make a difference, and it is only by reflecting on how we live, that we can begin an active process of change.
Perhaps others will join me in this endeavor of personal empowerment. Who knows?
What is clear is that in my own life, I am not going to wait for permission to start making changes to the way I live, in order to make a difference. It is always good to remember that when one person picks up a piece of litter, it is one piece of litter less. When a million people do this, it is several tons of litter less. This the the power that we have when we self-inspire, and self-activate to do what feels right.
Climate activist Greta Thunberg, 16, addressed the U.N.’s Climate Action Summit
in New York City on Monday, 23rd September 2019.
“My message is that we’ll be watching you.
“This is all wrong. I shouldn’t be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you!
“You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. And yet I’m one of the lucky ones. People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!
For more than 30 years, the science has been crystal clear. How dare you continue to look away and come here saying that you’re doing enough, when the politics and solutions needed are still nowhere in sight.
You say you hear us and that you understand the urgency. But no matter how sad and angry I am, I do not want to believe that. Because if you really understood the situation and still kept on failing to act, then you would be evil. And that I refuse to believe.
The popular idea of cutting our emissions in half in 10 years only gives us a 50% chance of staying below 1.5 degrees [Celsius], and the risk of setting off irreversible chain reactions beyond human control.
Fifty percent may be acceptable to you. But those numbers do not include tipping points, most feedback loops, additional warming hidden by toxic air pollution or the aspects of equity and climate justice. They also rely on my generation sucking hundreds of billions of tons of your CO2 out of the air with technologies that barely exist.
So a 50% risk is simply not acceptable to us — we who have to live with the consequences.
To have a 67% chance of staying below a 1.5 degrees global temperature rise – the best odds given by the [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] – the world had 420 gigatons of CO2 left to emit back on Jan. 1st, 2018. Today that figure is already down to less than 350 gigatons.
How dare you pretend that this can be solved with just ‘business as usual’ and some technical solutions? With today’s emissions levels, that remaining CO2 budget will be entirely gone within less than 8 1/2 years.
There will not be any solutions or plans presented in line with these figures here today, because these numbers are too uncomfortable. And you are still not mature enough to tell it like it is.
You are failing us. But the young people are starting to understand your betrayal. The eyes of all future generations are upon you. And if you choose to fail us, I say: We will never forgive you.
We will not let you get away with this. Right here, right now is where we draw the line. The world is waking up. And change is coming, whether you like it or not.