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Thursday, November 7, 2019

Something is wrong

     I saw a meme on Face book that was interesting. It was about 16-year-old Greta Thunberg and 25-year-old Boyan Slat, neither of whom I ever heard of.
     Greta Thunberg is a 16-year-old loudmouth described as a Swedish environmental activist on climate change whose campaigning has gained international recognition. Googling her name showed 107 million results. 
     She first became known for her activism in August 2018 when, at age 15, she began spending her school days outside the Swedish parliament to call for stronger action on global warming by holding up a sign saying "School strike for the climate". Soon, other students engaged in similar protests in their own communities. Together, they organized a school climate strike movement under the name Fridays for Future. After Thunberg addressed the 2018 United Nations Climate Change Conference, student strikes took place every week somewhere in the world. In 2019, there were at least two coordinated multi-city protests involving over one million students each. 
     Thunberg is known for her blunt, straightforward speaking manner, both in public and to political leaders and assemblies, in which she urges immediate action to address what she describes as the climate crisis. 
     At home, Thunberg convinced her parents to adopt several lifestyle choices to reduce their own carbon footprint, including giving up air travel and not eating meat. 
      She has been the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including fellowship of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society and has been named as one of the 100 most influential people of 2019 by Time magazine. 
     Thunberg was nominated for the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize which was ultimately awarded to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali. Googling his name gets only 3.8 million results. 

     The Ethiopian Prime Minister was awarded the prize for his efforts to resolve the border conflict with neighboring Eritrea. It was a monumental achievement ending a 20-year military stalemate, but his sweeping reforms have also been instrumental in transforming years of armed conflict within Ethiopia.
     Interesting. A loud-mouthed 16-year old who can offer no solutions, only criticisms and complaints, gets more media coverage and creates greater interest than Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali who actually accomplished something. At least the Nobel Prize people got it right. 
     As for 25-year-old Boyan Slat, Googling his name only shows about 612,000 results. Slat is a Dutch inventor and entrepreneur. A former aerospace engineering student, he is the CEO of The Ocean Cleanup. 
     He has been doing engineering projects and building things since he was two years old. He set a Guinness World Record by launching 213 water rockets simultaneously when he was 12. 
     Back in 2011, at age 16, Slat came across more plastic than fish while diving in Greece. He decided to devote a high school project for deeper investigation into ocean plastic solution and why it was considered impossible to clean up. 
     He later came up with the idea to build a passive system, using the circulating ocean currents to his advantage, which he presented at a talk in Delft in 2012. 
     Slat discontinued his aerospace engineering studies to devote his time to developing his idea and in 2013 founded The Ocean Cleanup, a non-profit organization of which he is now the CEO. The group's mission is to develop advanced technologies to rid the world's oceans of plastic. 
     The point is, as a teenager Slat, instead of just shooting off his mouth, actually went out and did something about a problem that concerned him. But, he got nowhere the media attention that Thunberg is getting. Also, the the fact that she gets more attention than Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali indicates that something is wrong.

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