The emperor is naked.

Only a child is courageous enough to tell the truth, raw, unvarnished without cynicism and without self-serving agenda. “He has no clothes,” she says. “He is lying. His lies are destroying our only home.”

This story of a naked ruler whose absurd pretense is encouraged by those around him plays out in local and global politics, in our religions and in our own psyches.

The lies continue until a child from the crowd speaks up boldly, “That man has no clothes on!” Only then do we wake up from the spell and begin to take a stand for what is true.

Or do we? Perhaps instead we malign the child. Or perhaps we praise her and then go back to our comfortable routines.

Yes indeed Greta. Our planet is burning, our oceans are rising. And in the face of that we are all naked.

So now we must choose. Continue to be part of the deception and the distraction?

Or shall enough of us rise for love of this Earth and for children of all species to create a new way forward?

As Al Gore reminds us this week in The New York Times, it is not too late. You can make a difference. Personal actions to reduce your carbon footprint coupled with letters, phone calls and personal visits to elected officials and decision-makers can mobilize powerful changes.

It is time for us all to lead the way into a more environmentally sane future.

Lea Bayles

Philomath (Sept. 27)

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