Solidarity with Gore: Protestors covered in fake blood next to the Wall Street Bull during a rally to raise awareness of the climate crisis' potentially disastrous effects. Picture: AFP/Timothy A. Clary
Solidarity with Gore: Protestors covered in fake blood next to the Wall Street Bull during a rally to raise awareness of the climate crisis' potentially disastrous effects. Picture: AFP/Timothy A. Clary

Codgers are fond of telling people that one of the pleasures of getting older is not giving a crap.

Using cranky old person syndrome as an excuse is, however, a bit like pleading diminished responsibility due to insanity in a court of law — it’s not my fault, your honour, I promise.

The global climate rebellion is partly a response to old(er) people not really giving a toss about the planet they are leaving for the kids of the future. As 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg said last month to the UN — in a speech barely longer than this column — "you [by whom she means us older people] — have stolen our future".

Thunberg and her legions of young followers are, of course, right. Older generations have either actively plundered Earth’s bounty and poisoned its air and water, or stood idly aside while the looters got on with it. Whatever problems were flagged, well, kick the can down the road for the young ’uns to pick up later.

Here we are in the closing months of 2019. The rains feel like they will never come and it is unseasonably warm. Coral reefs and glaciers are dying and polar bears drown as the Arctic ice melts away.

We are in the grip of the Holocene, the planet’s sixth mass extinction, during which wild animal populations have halved even as the human population has, in perverted irony, doubled. And that’s just since 1970.

No wonder the young are restless and angry and staging mass "die-offs" in city streets.

What they really need is to be in power, which, as the year 1789 in France should remind us codgers, is far from impossible.