There’s a reason why the 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg has successfully goaded powerful politicians into long-overdue climate action in just six months. Thunberg, who is on the autism spectrum, has become a moral authority. Again and again, she’s clearly articulated how adults have shamefully abdicated their basic duties to protect today’s children and future generations from compounding climate catastrophe.
Her ability to sway politicians and the public, in speeches and through the school strike movement, is now evident: European leaders have called for aggressive new carbon emissions reductions, citing her movement. For all of us, Thunberg’s direct approach towards climate inaction and climate denial provides an effective way to deal with people who argue against the seriousness of the climate crisis.
Drawing from her and other wise thinkers, here are 12 short answers to some of the most stymying questions to help you work through climate despair, cynicism, defeatism, and paralysis. They may just come in handy when you need them most.