Hello, Greta & Anuna! Hello World! I want to send you a sign of gratitude, and a couple of words of Encouragement and Inspiration. Thereby addressing all the ‘Green Teen Girls’ and their determined followers. As you know, the Strike for Climate Measures that Greta started single handed in Stockholm, has brought on foot tens of thousands in Belgium in the last few weeks, and the movement is spreading rapidly to neighboring countries like Germany and Holland. Your interviews and speeches in the press and on esteemed Platforms, have by now inspired the thoughts of tens of millions of adults. Whether in making them start to think positively along the lines of your Conviction, or stirring negative, defensive, reactions on (social) media. Everybody by now knows your face and the Noble Cause you stand for. How old you said you are? We have to react with Awe to your example. Here is something happening of a higher order. Something which has a transcendent component.
Well, first of all I want to express my gratitude. Because your Actions, your Style, your Words make me Happy. Your solid prophetic presence has given me new moments of joy and of Hope. I discover daily that you Girls have made my Love for Life great again! 😉
My own Childhood Activism
I am Stef, I love the Great Natural World as far as my first memories, that go back to when I was nearly three. I loved my Rabbits with a strong and kind love, when I went on regular expedition in our garden. Now I am 56, and I have been amazed ever since how much our Industrial and science-&-technology based Societies are based and driven by a set of strange values. I discover values and goals that differ greatly from what I saw and felt as a prodigal child, whilst in great wonder about being alive, and receiving tender care in a loving Family. A Nest where mother gave plenty of fostering tenderness and Father told stories of a life on the seven seas and in the air, as a sailor and a war photographer. His interest in the bigger picture and in the way the great History interacts with the life of the unique individual ‘infected’ me. Therefore, when I was eighteen, I went and studied History. I wanted to see more clearly how exactly this complex and often sad or tragic World was working. Oh yes, the year 1970 had been the first International Year for the Conservation of Nature, I remember standing in awe and wonder in the school Garden when a tree was solemnly planted… then an eight year old boy with a silently boiling passion for Mother Nature.
My love for the creatures big and small as a teen drove me to go out in the open land and study the birds and the wild herbs, trees & flowers in a peer group. Determination of the species and ‘the miracle of meeting’ them, binoculars at hand, in the woods and valleys, it became a hobby that offered us joy and happiness. Later I became an activist in the Flemish Green Party, and when no longer able to wait for the ecology movement to gain enough momentum to become decision makers, I started to take action on my own. I began writing reader’s letters in Newspapers and Magazines, the number of which is mounting to some 350 by now. I adamantly wanted to help move the steer wheel of the Ship of Society. You ‘ll understand now that I want to stand by you.
After such a personal history, I am not amazed that young people like you in the last few weeks have managed to change the political agenda’s in many a country, and that you have instilled a real Sense of Urgency.
My own story and motivation brought me to study History, in order to get a Helicopter View of our World and its problems and to think over the lessons that can be derived from former Generations. When I started to work as a reporter and editor, my very first article was devoted to the spiritual side of the Natural World: “The Woods as the Book of God”. I wanted to open eyes to the wonderful living world that we are part of and that surrounds us. My vision met resistance as well as applause. As a secondary school teacher in later years, I instructed my pupils about the Climate topic.
My heart is with our Fellow Creatures, I live out of a neat intuition of the paramount value of the Planetary Family that is called “Biodiversity”. Year after year, I felt the situation to be maddening, seeing more and more species dying out, wiped away forever from our Global House! How can our children live real good lives, when there are no more lions, wild horses, bears, bison, wolves, tigers, bees or deer?… For indeed, we mold our human Identity from our earliest days on by comparing ourselves to the other magnificent creatures out there!
… means Saveguarding Mental Health
Moreover, when growing up, Natural Treasures in desolate places have the unique power to offer peace to our hearts and inspiration to our best minds. Where will future generations of teens and twens go, when they struggle with developmental issues? Will there still be a universe to disappear “into the Wild”? More than providing for more daily bread, our nation’s citizens today need Daily Peace. Mental illnesses are a far bigger problem than hunger in our World. It’s an embarrassing & Inconvenient Truth, that we must look in the face, to be able to develop any Remedies. Thank God, wisdom from the Far East is spreading worldwide, and day after day the choir that mocks Nature Exploration Therapy, the so called Shinrin Yoku that originated in Japan, is diminishing.
In my first opinion articles in the leading Newspaper De Standaard in the nineties, I felt I must write on Mental Health. We by then in Belgium had a couple of hundreds of thousands people suffering gravely from depression, addictions, anxieties and loneliness. Furthermore, our country has since many decades one of the highest levels of Suicide in the world, some nine people kill themselves every day on a total of eleven million! Nobody seemed to know or to really care back then. In the main time, my writing and talks seem to have opened the eyes of press and people on an issue that maybe has been just “To Big To Address” for normal journalists, thinkers and politicians. So, in a way, I feel you. I have experience with the kind of effort that you want to realize, in bringing the Nature issue on top of the Agendas today. Therefore, I see the value of your stance, and I feel I must encourage you personally.
I can testify: it is possible to bring a Sacred Cause to the general attention and bring forth Change! If you have the necessary Spirit and you receive enough support, I am sure you CAN change the tones and topics of “the ongoing Conversation of Mankind” (Karl Popper). We Can Save Nature and Mankind.
What about the negative reactions
I decided to write this letter of sympathy, also because with some amazement I have noticed how much apprehension and disbelief, even mischief, your Actions and Ideas has been receiving in a wider audience. We only can understand this negative wave, if we recall the adversity that prophetical, messianic people of the past have met in their times. Jesus himself seems to have said: “Nowhere a prophet meets more doubt than in his own town and family” (Gospel according to Mattew, ch. 13, v. 57).
I offer therefore share you a conclusion that I came to about the psychology of these Climate Threat Deniers:
“People tend to see in the world and in other people, only just what they have in stock in the Inner Room of their own Minds. It is difficult to see Greatness in others, if you are the owner of a small or pour Soul”
Girls, I wish you the courage to go on and change our global thinking. I hope for you to succeed beyond comprehension of those that cherish doubts.
Next week, I will write you a letter with some thoughts and historic facts on the wonderful power of the female mind in the area of prophetic action. And I will share some reading stuff that to me became a source of Mind Power in the area of Love for Nature and Criticism of Society.
Historian, opinion maker reporter and amateur Biologist
PS. The Weekly School Strikes are like the Tide on the Sea shore: most of the time softly rolling, unassuming but ever present, indomitable and in the end causing Land Slide Changes! A great Female sort of Force!