You know these are desperate times when a 16-year-old gets trolled for taking a stand against environmental degradation. Never has the anti-conservation lobby been on back foot like it is today. But to target a teenager for voicing what she believes is right, tells us how defensiveness can often be characterised by aggression. The anti-conservation troll army, calls the entire climate strike movement cultish and anti-people. However, one article advocating such a mindset went ahead and targeted Greta Thunberg for being autistic.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • A magazine trolled Greta Thunberg for her autism?
  • What has autism got to do with Greta’s battle against climate change
  • How is this not bullying? Why is the anti-climate brigade so intimidated by young voices?
  • It is not easy to raise your voice for a cause you believe in. For that alone the Nobel prize nominee deserves respect.

Targetting a teenager for voicing what she believes is right, tells us how defensiveness can often be characterised by aggression.

“Anyone who doubts that the green movement is morphing into a millenarian cult should take a close look at Greta Thunberg. This poor young woman increasingly looks and sounds like a cult member. The monotone voice. The look of apocalyptic dread in her eyes. The explicit talk of the coming great ‘fire’ that will punish us for our eco-sins. There is something chilling and positively pre-modern about Ms Thunberg,” reads the article in Spiked.

Yes, the young Nobel prize nominee is autistic, she has Asperger Syndrome to be specific, but how does that figure in her battle against climate change? What gives the writer here the right to target her, instead of what she stands for? Or to call her a “weirdo” or her voice “monotone”? How is this not bullying? It takes a lot of courage for anyone to stand up for cause which may put you on the blacklist of giant conglomerates and even certain governments. Thunberg has shown she has courage, and that she isn’t afraid to speak her mind. After all it her future that is at stake here. For that alone Thunberg deserves respect.

What gives the writer here the right to target her, instead of what she stands for? Or to call her a “weirdo” or her voice “monotone”? How is this not bullying?

I agree that there are certain section in the pro-environment lobby, who have resorted to shaming people who do not identify with their cause. Who fail to understand that just like its decay, the rehabilitation of our environment will be gradual. The problem won’t solve itself overnight. They need to have patience and they need to bring those who do not identify with the cause to their side. Alienating them by blaming and shaming will only make matters worse. However, just because you feel you are being targeted for a lifestyle which isn’t wrong, doesn’t give you the agency to troll anyone, especially a child.

Any dialogue which moves beyond the course of healthy discussion, on which the parties involved get to put forth their arguments and concerns, loses its focus. If anti-conservation lobby feels that climate strike movement is over-rated or that we aren’t on the verge of an apocalypse, then they must retaliate with solid research backed arguments to back their stance. They must present their case in a fashion which isn’t offensive to young advocates of environmental conservation, who are showing guts by taking the matter into their own hands, because they know what is right for them.

Calling them weirdos, puppets, cult members speaks of feeling intimidated by their young but firm voices. Their agency and sense of awareness isn’t weird, it is inspiring, because the conversation they have sparked was long overdue.

Also Read: Sexist Jibes In Indian Courtrooms Are A Normality We Do Not Need

Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own.

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