So, a 16-year-old takes it upon herself to spearhead the global conversation on climate change, but what does she get in return? While the post-millennials are rallying behind this school-kid to save the planet they will inherit from adults, a lot of us “mature” people have muffled our ears. We don’t want to listen to Greta. We don’t want to acknowledge the possibly irreversible damage that we have done to this planet. We don’t want to be accountable. And we will do anything to escape from the increasing din over environmental conservation, even if we have to bully a teen to find a way out.
- Post her emotional speech at the UN summit to address the on-going climate crisis, Greta Thunberg is being trolled by a section of adults.
- Are adults unwilling to listen to Greta because she is just a child?
- Does the fact that she got emotional during her speech take away any weightage from what she said?
- What are us adults afraid of? Accountability? Or a drastic change in lifestyle that we have grown accustomed to?
We don’t want to listen to Greta. We don’t want to acknowledge the possibly irreversible damage that we have done to this planet. We don’t want to be accountable.
The anti-climate change lobby, helmed by the elected leader of one of the most powerful leaders in the world Donald Trump, cannot loathe Greta enough. Earlier, nasty shots were taken at the teen’s autism, while after her powerful UN address, her opposers are feigning disinterest and even sneering at her. Trump couldn’t resist tweeting about Thunberg’s address, writing. “She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!” Spiked magazine, which carried the notorious article attacking the activist for her autism diagnosis, published yet another piece alleging that Greta needs to be saved from “death cult of eco-alarmism.” It further added, “She has been turned into the chief spokesperson for doom, the mouthpiece of eco-misanthropy, a soothsayer of the horrors humankind will allegedly bring upon itself. The aim seems to be to make environmentalism an unquestionable, untouchable ideology.”
All the sneer and concern over brainwashing of Greta is infact a tell-tale sign of people’s own unwillingness to hear to a child. They are looking at her from a stereotypical gaze that they hold for teenagers. She is emotional. She better stick to what she is preaching. She is being brainwashed. She is being used by the green lobby for their political benefits. Despite numerous reports and researches telling us how pollution, massive waste generation and it’s poor management and recycling is damaging our ecosystem, the anti-conservation lobby is busy scrutinising the psyche of a teen, and not paying attention to what she is saying.
They are looking at her from a stereotypical gaze that they hold for teenagers. She is emotional. She better stick to what she is preaching. She is being brainwashed.
Do her words hold less relevance because she is young? Or because she got emotional during her speech? Do people not want to listen to her because they think she is immature, or because they actually believe that climate change is hoax? Or because it is easier to ignore the problem at hand, when clearly you won’t be around to bear its consequences?
Greta Thunberg's zero carbon journey to climate change conference https://t.co/SJpdp1dq6u
— Julia Hartley-Brewer (@JuliaHB1) August 13, 2019
I agree that the optics of child activism is multi-faceted. For many, it seems a concern that Greta and her tribe is skipping school and jeopardising their future, “dancing” to the tunes of the green lobby. But one then needs to ask, what has forced these children to take such drastic steps? Why must Greta skip school and take a stand to call out on our collective conscience at the UN? Haven’t we adults failed her and other kids, by our utter disregard for ecological preservation? Would Thunberg or any other school kid have to go on climate strike, if we had shown a foresight in tackling climate change?
The truth is, no matter if people bully Thunberg, or shame post-millennials for being snowflakes or sneer at them for eco-alarmist outlook, the planet belongs to them. We have done the damage and whether or not we want to be held accountable, we cannot stop those who do feel so from being the heralders of change. They have to be emotional about it because this is no longer about activism, it is about survival.
Thunberg owes it to no one, on how she chooses to live the rest of her life. She has done more for the conversation around environmental conservation in the past one year, than most of us grown-ups can collectively do in our lifetime. She can walk into silence and live as an ordinary teen. She can continue sailing through seas setting examples for us on how to reduce our carbon footprint. She can do as she pleases. As for us, we need to pay more attention to truth in Greta’s words than her, and I think that is what she wants too.
Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own.