Why is Greta Thunberg triggering such astonishing criticism? How can a 16-year-old girl in simple clothes and plaits, committed to a global cause, inspire such burning rage to save the world from extinction?
Bullying is never okay!
The criticism leveled at her shows the most aggressive and fatuous sort of bullying by people who apparently care a lot more about the environment. The Australian conservative climate change denier Andrew Bolt called her “deeply disturbed” and “freakishly influential”. The former UK funder, Arron Banks, tweeted “Freaking yacht accidents do happen in August“. Brendan O’Neill of Spiked called her a “millennial weirdo” in a piece that referred to her “monotone voice” and “the look of apocalyptic dread in her eyes”.
Human nature at its worst
Part of the reason she inspires such outrage is obvious. Climate change is frightening. The Amazon is burning up. So is the Savannah, too. Areas of the Arctic are under fire. The sea level is rising. There are more violent hurricanes, wildfires, droughts, and floods. Denial is better than facing a disturbing reality. Then there’s the fact that we don’t like to feel bad about our life choices. This is human nature. That’s why we’re always sneering at vegans. That’s why we’re wary of sober people at parties. That’s why we follow the crowd blindly because it’s challenging to stand out.
The average global warming from 1850 to the end of the 20th century was about 2.5 W/m². CO2 contributed about 60 percent of this amount, and CH4 contributed about 25 percent, while N2O and halocarbons contributed the remainder. This has led to an increase in Earth’s average temperature from 15.5 ° C to 16.2 ° C over the last 100 years. The warming effect that would result from a doubling of CO2 from pre-industrial levels is measured at 4 W/m².
Who’s the freak now?
But who’s the real freak, a child whose dedication has single-handedly sparked a global international movement for change, or a middle-aged men taunting a kid with Asperger Syndrome from behind the safety of their computer screens?
The reason they taunt her with silly insults is because that’s all they got against her fact based narrative. They’re out of ideas. They can’t defuse her arguments, because she has science and David Attenborough on her side. They cannot win the debate with the compelling strength of her claims, because their statements deal in jaded cynicism, not youthful enthusiasm. They may harangue her with snide tweets and cold blog posts, but they will not get a response because, frankly, she’s got bigger fish to fry.
That’s not to say that we should blindly agree to what Thunberg says. She’s an idealist who’s old enough to see the world in black and white. But, we need more voices like hers.
They should listen to what she has to say because it’s our right to have cleaner air and water.
To answer the question:
Why is it so upsetting Greta Thunberg? It’s because of what she stands up for. When democracy is under threat, it points at the emergence of a new force, the fusion of youth, mass activism and irrefutable science. And for her loudest critics, she also reflects something else: the vision of their imminent obsolescence, which goes against their authority.
And that’s the real reason Greta Thunberg is so chilling. When people can’t even admit it to themselves, they mock it. But the fact is, they fear her. They fear her as a person, and of what she stands for — youth, determination, and change.
She’s part of a generation that will not be cowed. She’s not about to be afraid of the trolls ‘ fluffy and cute opinions.
Well, that’s not a look of dystopian fear in her eyes. It’s a look that says, “change is coming whether you like it or not.”
You need not be famous to do your bit to stop the climate crisis. All you need to do is everything you can, to everyone you can, to change everything you can.