Macau Matters | A global call for climate action

Richard Whitfield

The recent plea for strong action to combat climate change at a UN Climate Action Summit in New York by Greta Thunberg, a16 year old climate activist from Sweden, was inspiring. I strongly recommend that you all watch it on YouTube ( She passionately and vigorously chastised world leaders for doing far too little to combat climate change. She bluntly told them that young people are watching and waiting for them to clean up the mess that they have created through their aggressive pursuit of “of money and fairytales of eternal economic growth” to the grave detriment of our planet. She further scathed them for doing too little too late, noting that a 50% risk of global temperatures rising more than 1.5 degrees is not acceptable to future generations and that the real risks are much higher if world leaders continue on their current inadequate course. She finished by saying that world leaders are failing future generations and youngsters are starting to understand this betrayal and will never forgive their forefathers for leaving such a huge problem for them to deal with. Powerful stuff!
Greta made her plea at the UN in the wake of an Inter-generational Global Climate Strike which saw several million children, young adults and others skip school and work to participate in protest marches in over 150 countries. This was just the most recent of several such national, regional and global protests about the lack of action to combat climate change. Sadly, I have not heard of any protests in Macau related to this strike.
Some people have, stupidly in my view, criticized children for missing school and joining these protests. Surely, we want active and engaged citizens who care about their communities and are positively involved in their growth and development. This must be taught in schools, and what better way for children to learn about such things than getting actively involved in standing up for what they believe in. These protests are a great learning opportunity that should be nurtured rather than quashed. I have always said that the best way to get action to combat climate change is to educate children so they can shame their elders into doing what is needed.
I have discussed climate issues many times in these articles, and pointed out the dangers of inadequate action, and identified many positive actions that the Macau government could take. Greta noted that the science has been clear for 30+ years and scalded world leaders for being totally incompetent and not doing anywhere near enough to combat climate change, and rightly so. World (and Macau) leaders are still only nibbling round the edges, letting the problem get bigger and bigger and leaving a giant mess for future generations, which is unforgivable.
Many ask why they should be combating climate change when others do too little. This is a nonsense argument that is equivalent to claiming that it is OK to commit a crime because others are committing that crime, which has never been a valid moral or legal defense. We are heading towards a global existential crisis and every country, every business and organization and every person should be doing everything within their power to combat it. If you start you will inspire, or shame, others into following your example.
Too many people and too many companies are happy to destroy our planet to make money and this should be unacceptable to all of us. Too often, legal systems impose inadequate fines that can be simply shrugged off. I do not understand why such negligence does not lead to criminal prosecutions and confiscation of all the resulting profits – I feel that criminals (and their families) should not profit from their anti-social behaviour.
The Macau government is still nibbling round the edges of the global climate problem and we deserve, and should demand much more action.

Categories Opinion