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Picking the rush hour traffic eastbound and westbound on Interstate 10, activists put banners over the highway on the Nairn Drive overpass protesting climate change Friday Sept. 20, 2019, in Baton Rouge, La.

I am writing about a recent Cal Thomas column, “A teenager doesn’t know enough to rule the U.N”.

First, I would like to address the reference to the Competitive Enterprise Institute. This group, which is funded by various organizations such as the oil and gas industry and the Koch brothers, promotes deregulation of drug safety, rent control, and automobile fuel efficiency. It also has long ties to the misinformation campaign about the dangers of smoking. We must question the validity of its agenda.

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The majority of scientist now support, through scientific data, the effects of carbon dioxide and methane on global warming. Currently, our ice caps are melting at an alarming rate. There are some countries that have had to move cities inland because of the flooding caused by rising seas, including here in the United States in Louisiana and Alaska. There was a time when most believed the world was flat except a few who stated it indeed was round. They were considered even heretics to state such a fact. Even after explorers sailed across the ocean and returned, after not falling off the edge, it was some time before it was truly accepted that the world was indeed round. To reject the overwhelming scientific evidence that exists today is dangerous and foolish.

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Also, the article questioned how a young girl, such as Greta Thunberg, could possibly be qualified to address the U.N. Cal Thomas stated, “teenagers only know what their teachers tell them,”and perhaps she “should take along a copy of the CEI summary.” These statements seem to deny that any young person could possibly possess the intellect and foresight to address serious issues. There is a history of many young people who have defied the norms of expectations such as Mozart, Einstein, Mother Teresa, and Walt Disney, to just name a few. At what age, one might ask, did Mozart compose his first symphony? Walt Disney was told, as a student, that he would not amount to anything. Recently, at the age of 15, Malala Yousafzai was shot for seeking an education, and after recovering, began a worldwide crusade for education. Malala became the youngest person to receive, at the age of 17, the Nobel Peace Prize. The young, indeed, can not only know more than what their teachers tell them, but can teach the world.

To deny that our young have the intellect and foresight to change the world is to deny the future of our world’s thinkers and leaders. Greta Thunberg has mobilized a world of young people who are afraid we are going to hand over a dying earth to them.

Our future depends on the development and expansion of technology and industry that allows the future of our planet to survive. The U.N., and the world, should listen to Greta Thunberg and our young.

Stephanie Atkinson

retired registered nurse