Eco warrior Greta Thunberg has at last come clean. She wants not just to limit climate emissions, but to overthrow the entire capitalist system underpinning Western civilization.
Forget climate activism – so last decade! – now she's a would-be, far-left urban guerrilla, and what she brands 'racist' capitalism is firmly lined up in her sights. Sanctimoniously dismissing two thousand years of social and cultural advance, combined with the valiant attempts of those who dedicated (and sometimes sacrificed) their lives to enhancing the common good – which efforts she now denounces as exploitation – she has announced at the launch of her new book, dedicated to the climate, that Western capitalism "... is a system defined by colonialism, imperialism, oppression and genocide by the so-called global North to accumulate wealth that still shapes our current world order."
The really astonishing thing, however, is that she has apparently beguiled so many into accepting her extreme pronouncements, garnering in the process a remarkably elevated view of her status. For example, in 2019 the Church of Sweden Malmo enthusiastically announced that Ms Thunberg was the successor to Jesus Christ!
Their regard – dare one say adulation? – would appear not to have been reciprocated. Not only does the teenager appear to have ignored the church's fulsome praise, but Christianity as a whole doesn't seem to have merited even passing mention. But presumably, since she now seems openly to be espousing Marxism, that is because she regards religion as a tool of the ruling elite to enforce class oppression.
If nothing else, events of the last century show us just how dangerous and destabilising such an ideology is. For example, both Russia and China – pioneers of state-imposed communism – in face of the generalised poverty that resulted from their theories and undermined both their influence and acceptability in the West, rejected its more extreme application. Which doesn't mean that the totalitarian-style capitalism both countries now favour is to be admired, but it does serve to demonstrate the political, philosophical and practical deficiencies inherent in any such approach – deficiencies that should surely warn us against condemning out of hand two thousand years of Western endeavour and undoubted achievement.
To return, however, to the state of the planet, we should do all we can to live responsibly. I believe that men and women are divinely called to be stewards of the Earth and, as such, it behoves us to take proper care of the environment – which we have demonstrably failed to do: witness the great smog of London in 1952, which killed an estimated 4,000 people, or the notorious toxic air pollution today of some cities in China that makes wearing a mask commonplace irrespective of Covid.
It does indeed make sense that we work to limit harmful emissions but at the same time, it is entirely possible that our efforts will achieve little, so let me suggest an alternative approach.
Instead of rejecting out of hand all use of advanced energy systems, why don't we start by thanking God for the resources He's given us, and for the growing technical understanding that has enabled us to use them to make life easier, healthier and safer for so many? And then let us ask His help and apply our energies to using His gifts aright.
The answer to the challenges we currently face is not to impose totalitarian, globalised control over the masses, making us subservient to a one-world order that focuses power into the hands of a narrow global elite, reducing the rest of us to a state of near serfdom, unquestioningly doing what we're told, with movement confined to a five-mile radius round our homes.
Greta Thunberg may wish to smash Western capitalism, blaming the planet's climate ills on greedy fat-cats who have ruthlessly exploited the proletariat for short-term gain, but her crusade is based on misplaced idealism and a defective analysis that fails to appreciate humanity's aspiration and achievements, as well as our flaws.
It is entirely right for all of us to question the state of the world and to think about its future. Equally, we should be open to different points of view, assessing them carefully and without prejudice.
But Greta Thunberg's campaign is exposed as being driven by political ideology, which, at the end of the day, can only destroy. For those who wish truly to save the planet, it is time to bring God back into the equation, and to seek His insight as to the proper way forward.
Rev Lynda Rose is founder of Voice for Justice UK, a group which works to uphold the moral values of the Bible in society.