Young climate change activist under fire


Emma Neal, Pace Buchan

Critics set on debunking the “myth” of global warming have found their next target: 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg.

Criticism skyrocketed after a photo surfaced on the internet of the teen enjoying a meal on a train in recent weeks.

It’s clear to see, however, that these varying accusations arise from some kind of underlying need to invalidate her. 

Twitter users were quick to point out foods wrapped in plastic, a paper cup, and a few plastic containers. Ignored, of course, were the multiple reusable water bottles, and the fact that the salad was vegan. 

Nevertheless, the image fueled a steadily burning flame of criticism and hate towards the young activist, and I am not surprised. We should’ve seen this coming. 

We’ve seen it in the claims that Thunberg is just a pawn pushed forward by her parents, or a tool created by liberals to strengthen their political agenda. One needs only to google her name to find piles upon piles of criticisms and libel against her. 

Consider for a second that the hate is not rooted in politics. Perhaps it is instead directed toward her perceived privilege.

Many find hypocrisy in the fact that Thunberg speaks of her childhood being stolen and how she is suffering when many children around the world are living in far worse conditions and arguably suffering a great deal more. While this is a valid point to be made, Thunberg doesn’t base her movement on her own experience, but rather what children like her will experience if things do not change. Sure, she definitely doesn’t have it the worst, and may, in fact, be privileged, but this doesn’t invalidate her message, or her right to speak out. 

Other critics lament that all Thunberg does is make large claims, without taking action. To that, I say this: what do we call a two-week-long voyage across the Atlantic Ocean on a zero-emissions boat, if not action? What is her veganism, or her presence at the United Nations Climate Summit, if not action?

Indeed, Greta is not perfect, and no, she does not live a completely waste-free lifestyle, but she is fighting and trying her very best to make a difference. She is a 16-year-old girl with a voice and a passion, and she’s using them to the best of her ability. Can all her critics and skeptics say the same for themselves?