Bengaluru: The world seems to have heated up in the last two weeks or so.

That may be less because of global warming, and more because of a global warming activist. Greta Thunberg, to be precise.

Though she has been an activist for quite some time, it is only in recent months that she has made it to the global headlines consistently.

The 16-year-old Swedish girl, with her no-nonsense approach and remarkable sangfroid in the face of extreme pressure, has stirred up the emotions of the world one way or the other.

For many, especially for the youth, she has emerged as the veritable conscience keeper, posing inconvenient questions to the powers that be on the global warming and climate crisis and asking for a radical change in the way we conduct our everyday lives.

Her transatlantic voyage in a yacht (air travel adds to carbon footprint) from the UK to the USA, and her steady-nerved speeches have taken the world by storm.

Greta’s central message is children are inheriting a “poisoned world” because of the unthinking actions of the adults. Her appeal to the international community is that the time to act is now. Her prescribed action is: just follow what scientists and science say.

Of course, Greta has many critics too, especially from climate change disbelievers, who feel there is needless alarmism in global warming warnings. 

Also, since Greta is believed to be backed by the Left Wing politics, many of her detractors are typically from the right wing.

In a sense, it is instructive to watch global warming science being riven by Left and Right wing politics.

In the unseemly fight between the two political shades, Greta illness (she suffers from Asperger’s syndrome) has been dredged up. Questions are asked about who is funding her trips and why. The yacht she took the US, it has been pointed out, had diesel generators backup (diesel is a strict no-no for climate activists). Also, a big crew had to be flown to the US to get the yacht back to Europe.

Of course, these are peripheral issues, and not the answers to the issues that Greta has brought to the table.

While the Left and Right wing politicians may be fighting for brownie points, the sad truth is both can’t claim a space on the moral high ground.  

Whether one believes in climate emergency or not and whether it is man-made or not, the undeniable fact of the matter is that the world is guilty of overconsumption and in general the modern lifestyle is based on a model that is unsustainable.

The point is, most of us use ACs, refrigerators, eat meat, drive cars, fly in aeroplanes to long-distance (all of these are said to contribute carbon emissions) in our every-day life. 

So it is irrelevant who is right, when everyone is guilty. 

Greta says listen to what science says. But isn’t it a fact that it is science (which gifted us ACs, fridges, cars, planes etc.) that is responsible for the sorry predicament we find ourselves in now.

Science and scientists have brought us here. Now to heed them is a bit like listening to the security suggestions of the thief who looted you. There will always be a question of credibility. How can we trust them when we are in a soup because of them?

Most of the solutions for climate change are obvious: They tell us to rely less on all kinds of machines, eat more plant-based diet, walk rather than use fuel-using vehicles. 

In other words, science is saying that we should depend less on what science provided us in the first place and lead a life like our ancestors, who were scientifically backward, did. 

Does that mean science has actually failed the world? 

It is a sobering paradox for the world to grapple with.