For some reason, a 16-year-old climate change activist has sent the right-wing representatives at the United Nations spiralling, with sometimes bizarre forms of bullying being blurted out left, right and centre in their wake. I’ll say that louder for the people in the back: the 16-year-old activist.
Some of the sexist and ableist reactions to the child using her voice for good have been a painful reality check on the kind of people that still exist in the world. They’ve ranged from embarrassing to downright appalling without skipping everything in between. We can’t not start with Leave.EU co-founder Arron Bank’s hot take on the matter: suggesting the teenage girl might die in a “freak yachting accident” on her way to the UN summit.
But that’s nowhere near all of it. Here are just a few more examples of what she is (and we are) dealing with:
They tried dismissing her, but that didn’t work.
So then they went down a more personal route, attacking her appearance and self-proclaimed “superpower” Asperger’s, and that didn’t work either. She simply held her head up high and pointed out that if they’re going after her looks, they must be struggling to fault her arguments.
(Good on you, Greta)
So now they’ve gone off the rails with wild claims about Greta being a child actress hired by the left to do their dirty work for them…
But as the psychologist Mark Banschick so eloquently put it: “To suggest that Thunberg is just a cardboard cutout controlled by adults, and that her achievements and words are disingenuous and invalid, is paternalism masquerading as concern and is contrary to all available evidence.” It is not fair to infantilise a girl of an age who, in many places, could get married, consent to sex, have a child of her own, get a full-time job and even join the army.
We’ll let you choose to believe what you want, but first of all let’s do a little psychoanalysis*, shall we?
*we’re armchair psychologists, so don’t quote us on this…
- They’re lashing out because they’re scared
- They’re scared because she’s telling them everything they don’t want to hear
- If they’re not scared, it’s because they think they’re hearing her but they’re missing the point
- They should be scared, because what she’s telling them is true: true for their generation, truer for her generation, and truest for all the generations that follow.
So if you’re reading this and you feel threatened by change/a 16-year-old girl (or you know someone else who is), read on to find out why we need to embrace the discomfort.
For starters, who cares whose mouth it’s coming from? Who cares if her parents have fed her the information? If the information is true then it needs to be heard, and she’s the only one in a long time who’s been brave enough to take up the gauntlet.
Not only that, who cares if the climate change emergency really has been blown out of proportion? Surely coming together for a common cause and taking action can’t be a bad thing. Cutting down on fossil fuels, eating better and generally making the planet and its people healthier is something we should all be striving towards. The next generation aren't going to discover that climate change is a myth, and then say "how DARE the millennials clean up our beaches for nothing?!". They are, however, going to be damning each and every one of us if we do nothing.
But if we DO decide to care, get behind her for the sole reason being that it's about time some of the people in power started quaking in their boots about us knowing they're failing us.
You’ve made it to the end! We’re proud of you. Now follow #FridaysForFuture, ask politicians #HowDareYou, #GoVegan, join Extinction Rebellion, and strike for climate change.