Greta Thunberg and the Climate


Greta is a girl, she’s young, and she has Asperger’s. Those are three tragic weapons that can be used against her as she goes about her activism. They don’t surprise me, sadly. What does surprise me is that there are people who use those attacks to prove that climate change is, therefore, not real.

What I think we all need to realise is that Greta isn’t the environmental movement. She’s an inspiring figurehead of it, sure, having sparked student protests around the world, including here in Australia, and gaining international attention. But her movements and individual actions alone do not denote the overall battle.

So while attacking a teenage girl for wanting to simply make sense of a world that previous generations screwed up for us younger folks is plain despicable, using your personal dislike for a single person to try discredit reality is a leap that makes no sense. If you don’t like Greta, who cares. How does that influence your opinion on climate change?

This might seem absurd, but I have seen posts and even a video, for lack of a better phrase, trash talking Greta. Once the perceived head of a movement ‘loses credibility’, so does the cause that they are fighting for. Some similar examples might explain this easier to understand.

The Labor Party and the Union movement received a lot of negative press and voter distrust as a result of the demonisation of Bill Shorten. The Democrats and the ‘left’ in the US are hated by a large segment of the US population because Trump and others constantly attack them. The UK Labour Party also receives negative press due to the perception of anti-Semitism that their current leader, Jeremy Corbyn, has forced onto him.

None of those groups or individuals are perfect, but many of the arguments against them and the things they stand for are not based on any particular ideas or facts, but simply personal jabs at figureheads. I’m not a Labor fan because I dislike their weak policy stances, not because Shorten was their leader. I am, however, a fan of the Union movement (which really needs to detach itself from political parties), a position I hold independent of my opinion of Sally McManus (I think she’s done a decent job in the ACTU).

I’m not going to go to Greta to find out about climate science, and I’m personally not that invested in what she does. I do, however, recognise the impact that she has, and there’s no denying she is intelligent, if young and perhaps inexperienced. But to see her attacked for petty and personalised reasons and used as a scapegoat for denying climate change is obscene.

Thankfully, she seems to be taking all of this in stride and even fighting back. Hopefully she continues to get the support she’s been getting. And hopefully she can be one of many voices to inspire a generation.


Liked this? Read Aristotle and Climate Change

Previous piece: The ‘Inconvenient’ Protest

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