The Broken World sculpture outside The United Nations Headquarters Building in New York

This is an important week for the global environment and New York is again the center of focused work to fix our broken world, thank God. It was good to see youth representatives having their say and leaving a lasting impression, too. To our youth, I say keep the heat on our leaders!

Young Greta Thunberg sailed across the Atlantic in the defense of our ecosystem like a Viking Shield-maiden! Poor power to her voice.

It was sad to see a Yanomami tribal leader excluded from a meeting, but that may have made his point better than his words might have done in the meeting. He kept his cool, and maintained a stiff lower lip. Salut!

I think people are right to expect world leaders to engage with climate change and ecosystem collapse in a thoughtful and practical manner. Greta is right to demand urgency and to give President Trump a hard stare. There’s an important phrase in every ecologist’s lexicon that has a direct bearing on politicians, it refers to the change, usually deleterious and irreversible, of a richer ecosystem to a poorer, more simplified one. The term is ‘Regime shift’ and it is especially loaded with significance in this run up to the 2020 US Presidential election.

Climate change is not a Chinese hoax. Without appropriate remedial action, rising temperatures and altered rainfall patterns threaten to surpass tipping points that will result in regime shifts. That’s not good news for most species, ours included.

Together we’ve been making a horrible mess. More than 9.2 billion tons of plastic have been produced since 1950, most of it in the last fifteen years. “Around the world nearly a million plastic bottles are sold every minute”, “There are over five trillion pieces of plastic already floating in the world’s oceans. “Worldwide, 73% of beach litter is plastic”. These are some of the important messages in the UN Headquarters Building’s National Geographic exhibition on marine plastic pollution.

The US President’s comment about Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg being a happy child serves to confirm fears that at least one of those in denial appears to still be entrenched in their opinions even in the face of incontrovertible evidence.

In a curious way, I’m grateful to him for his tweet. The backlash among outraged people of all ages to do the right thing may be enough to turn us toward a safer, more ecocentric future. Ironically, it seems to be the traditional anthropocentric view that is ultimately the more dangerous to mankind and that has brought us to the brink of run-away climate disaster!

I have faith that collectively we are going to meet the challenges of this age and serve as better stewards of this unique and precious planet. As many of the protestors’ placards say “There’s No Planet B!”