WASHINGTON — Have you heard the good news? Large numbers of students worldwide are going to be skipping school on Fridays until they educate us on the perils of global warming. Moreover, they "are declaring the era of American climate change denialism over." Those are the words of Alexandria Villasenor, who is 13 years old. She was addressing a crowd in front of the United Nations building in New York City. In America, hundreds of thousands of children are calling it quits every Friday, heading off to parks and other public gathering spots to bounce gigantic beach balls in the air, heave Frisbees and wave wands with which they intend to fill the air with soap bubbles — though I would caution against too many soap bubbles. That might be construed as contributing to air pollution.
At any rate, I am on the children's side on this one, and I plan to enlist Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform to join with me. And, of course, our leaders, the children. As I see it, with hundreds of thousands of American students skipping school on Fridays, every state in the union will be justified in cutting back on its education budgets, and the federal budget, too, will get a reprieve. Go for it, Donald! As Adam Siegel, who has a 14-year-old daughter at McLean High School in Virginia, said over the weekend, "This is a form of education. ... This is citizenship." Here, here, Mr. Siegel. He will approve of his daughter Leah's cutting school on Fridays so she can participate in what the clever man calls "civil action." Indeed it is. What it all means is one less day per week of macerating the innocent in propaganda, and for the taxpayer, tax relief. I can hear the applause of Americans for Tax Reform now.
On the other hand, does anyone really believe that this worldwide "movement" was begun by children? Well, I heard on National Public Radio that it was. According to NPR, it began with one Greta Thunberg in Sweden.
Supposedly, the 16-year-old enfant terrible began it a couple of years ago, and now she is in charge of the whole operation. She said at a United Nations climate confabulation in December, "Since our leaders are behaving like children, we will have to take the responsibility they should have taken long ago." And so she will, with a whole world of teenage reformers along for the ride.
It reminds me of the anti-gun movement that came out of the Parkland high school shooting tragedy a year ago. It was apparently run, we are told, by another precocious teenager, David Hogg. These two reform movements, both run by teenagers, are the latest scams actually run by adults with a heavy investment in reform. The scammers used to use women. Now they use teenagers. Maybe they will make some money, and maybe they will not.
In the case of last weekend's global warmists, I would advise that they be careful whom they enlist in their movement. In New York, they brought in folk singer Peter Yarrow. "Let the children lead," he sang out. "That's what we need." In 1970, he was convicted and served time for taking "improper liberties" with a 14-year-old girl. "(T)he young crowd echoed him," according to the Washington Post.
My guess is that the 16-year-old Swede and the 18-year-old anti-gun proponent have gotten about as far as they are going to get with their respective projects. Both projects are obvious frauds in which these teenagers are pawns. In the case of global warming hysterics, their pet cause has been ringing the panic button for decades, and their prophesied day of reckoning has yet to come. This time their scam is particularly egregious. No adult can possibly believe that a 16-year-old girl could possibly run a worldwide movement. Yet there you have it. Greta Thunberg, age 16, is taking over the world with the help of Alexandria Villasenor, age 13. And perhaps Adam Siegel can find a place for his 14-year-old Leah.
Examples of the environmentalists' failure to meet their deadlines for our doom are abundant, but let me give you one of my favorites, because I suppose it came during the administration of Jimmy Carter, and with his help. Called the "Global 2000," it certified the environmentalists' most defective prophecies. It pronounced: "If present trends continue, the world in 2000 will be more crowded, more polluted, less stable ecologically, and more vulnerable to disruption than the world we live in now. Serious stresses involving population, resources, and environment are clearly visible ahead. Despite greater material output, the world's people will be poorer in many ways than they are today." We missed our deadline in 2000. Yet according to Ms. Thunberg, our next deadline is in about a dozen years.
I say it is time to live it up.
R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is founder and editor in chief of The American Spectator. He is a senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research and the author, most recently, of "The Death of Liberalism," published by Thomas Nelson, Inc. To find out more about R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.