Greta Thunberg is 16 years old. She’s been in the news for more than a year. Love her, or hate her, and many do, the young lady is driving the climate change narrative. It amazes me how grown adults are taking potshots at her on social media and on FoxNews. When you can’t debate facts, you try and undermine the messenger. It used to be that adults acted like adults, but all that has changed.
The world belongs to the courageous and outspoken young people like Greta and Parkland shooting activist David Hogg. Their idealism and energy is to be commended, not scorned. Perhaps it is time we put the kids in charge, we adults haven’t done a very good job.
Those who think Greta stumbled into this ill-deserved fame, haven’t been paying attention. Greta’s critics are the climate change deniers and politicians entrenched in the status quo, economics and political structures unwilling or fearful of change.
What makes Greta such a threat? She has power and people around the world are listening. Social media is a powerful thing. This past March, more than a million students walked out of their classes to join her in protest. A stunt by kids? Yes, and a good one.
Obviously, more than kids are listening. Greta has met with leaders around the world, spoken before legislative bodies and attended the UN Climate Summit in New York. She even traveled there on a solar-powered yacht.
In September, she led another climate strike, people in 161 countries participated. And this month, she addressed a conference of climate scientists in Madrid.
Why is Greta divisive, besides being a teenager and stealing thunder from adults?
Her words are clear and bold: “You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words.” She’s referring to non-action from politicians.
Is she angry? You bet. President Trump, someone with his own anger issues, tweeted this about Greta:
“So ridiculous,” he wrote. “Greta must work on her Anger Management problem, then go to a good old fashioned movie with a friend! Chill Greta, Chill!”
Greta responded with a slight change to her Twitter bio:
Whether Greta is attacked by Trump, his adult children, the GOP or the Brazilian President who called her a brat; she’s usually the adult in the room. They can take their cheap shots, but she will persist. She has a lot of years to persist, which is why she wants a livable Earth.
At the just concluded UN COP25 conference in Madrid, countries struggled to find a path forward on provisions of the Paris Climate Summit. Sadly, the United States is counted on to be a lead actor on climate change, but our leadership is mainly from state and local governments, education and some corporations. The COP25 is being called mostly a failure, as larger countries like the U.S. did not go along with aggressive language for reducing greenhouses gases.
Should Greta have been Time’s Person of the Year? Sure, why not. Aside from focusing the world’s attention on climate and survival, she has motivated millions to act. Not empty words. Actions. Now, maybe adults will lead, or get out of the way.