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Ain’t Just Whistling Dixie

Greta Thunberg, climate change activist

Blog by Dr. David Sanders

At the end of the film Titanic, as she lay half-conscious on a makeshift raft, Rose extends her reach to grab a whistle out of the mouth of an already dead shipman. She can barely purse her lips, managing a feeble alert, a high-pitched whistle in the wind to signal, that among the dead in the frigid waters, there is still one person clinging to life.

This coming Monday, Rosh Hashanah, we will all be whistleblowers. The sounding of the shofar calls to us from our half-conscious state, inertia and fear, to awaken us to a life we aspire to live and challenge us to make the needed changes for our future.

The word whistleblower has captured the headlines and our attention on the American political front and may have drawn attention away from a courageous girl from Sweden who is sounding the alarm on the climate.  “My message,” Greta Thunberg said to those assembled at the United Nations this week, “Is that we’ll be watching you.”  Her voice breaking, tears intermingling with anger, Greta blew the whistle on those who “look away”; climate change deniers or those who acknowledge the dangers but are still unwilling to make the hard but necessary changes. She takes this perspective on why so many people remain half-conscious because in her view “humans are social animals” and so they have a herd mentality.  Greta on the other hand is on the autism spectrum and this leads her to not follow the typical social coding.  She “goes her own way” marching to a different beat, a shofar in hand, sounding the warnings of a whistleblower.

We best listen to Greta’s clarion call because along with so many other birds and wildlife, the canary in now silent in the coal mine. To get to New York, Greta chose to cross the Atlantic via a solar powered boat. It was a massive iceberg and more importantly, human arrogance and delusion that sunk the Titanic on its maiden voyage across the Atlantic. To reverse the calculus in the human contribution that sunk the Titanic, we now must set sail with a determined mission–to preserve the icebergs before they all melt.  On this Rosh Hashanah let’s hearken to Greta’s message and awaken from half-consciousness.

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Comments 4

  1. Please watch the truth telling documentary,”The eye on the prize”. What Black America endured for hundreds of years. Trumps twitter post was aimed at taunting a 16 yrs old girl…Greta…for being emotional, teary eyed at the U.N. The back lash she is getting is cruel, dangerous and threatening. I was at D.U. today and the young millennial and Gen Z lady students showed us web sites where her life is being threatened….Really???

  2. I just completed an eye-opening Civil Rights tour of the South with The Nation magazine. I am still blown away by the bravery shown in the face of bombings, disappearances, lynchings and violence. Being awakened can be heart breaking. It can also stir us to bravery. May it be so.

  3. •End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere.•Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation.•Eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation.•Recognize and value unpaid care and domestic work through the provision of public services, infrastructure and social protection policies and the promotion of shared responsibility within the household and the family as nationally appropriate.•Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decisionmaking in political, economic and public life.•Ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights as agreed in accordance with the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development and the Beijing Platform for Action and the outcome documents of their review conferences.•Undertake reforms to give women equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to ownership and control over land and other forms of property, financial services, inheritance and natural resources, in accordance with national laws.•Enhance the use of enabling technology, in particular information and communications technology, to promote the empowerment of women.•Adopt and strengthen sound policies and enforceable legislation for the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls at all levels.

  4. The term “Whistlin’ Dixie” is a Southern expression meaning “Talking Nonsense” (“Dixie” is a traditional song associated with the American South). If you “Ain’t just whistlin’ Dixie,” you are saying something meaningful.

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