The Hysteria behind Greta Thunberg

Greta Thunberg, a name that has taken the world, especially the leaders of the world, by storm. Having been nominated for the Nobel peace prize, the 16-year-old teenager is continuing to inspire people of all ages across the globe. She started her journey as a climate activist at the age of 15 and has come a long way from protesting alone in front of the parliament to addressing the whole world at the Climate Action Summit in the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters on September 23rd, 2019. It took a 15-year-old, skipping school to protest in front of the Swedish parliament, demanding the leaders for emergency action on climate change for it to become the primary focus of the annual UN General Assembly.  

She publicly castigated the world leaders in her opening speech, popularly being known as “how dare you” at the UN summit, confronting the leaders for a lack of action on their front and delivering just ambitious, futile words. In her poignant speech, Greta openly indicted the government along with the older generation by saying, “They also rely on my generation sucking hundreds of billions of tons of your CO2 out of the air with technologies that barely exist.” Greta Thunberg’s speeches are upfront and blunt. Ignoring the slightly dramatized aspect of her speech like, “We will not let you get away with this. Right here, right now is where we draw the line. The world is waking up. And change is coming, whether you like it or not” which seems to be straight out of a theatrical show, she did manage to inspire a tremendous amount of people all over the world to do something about the adverse climatic condition we are facing. 

As with anyone else who is trying to bring about change, the 16-year-old has faced her fair share of hate and backlash. Gustavo Negreiros, a Brazilian radio host, was sacked for making obscene remarks like, “She is unloved. If she also doesn’t like men, let her get a woman if she’s a lesbian. She needs sex. She’s an unloved hysteric. '' Renowned personalities like Marc Morano, communications director of the campaign group, Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, are making absurd comments saying that she is being used as a bait to lure the critics of the climate policy. On the other hand, some “leaders” are hauling personal attacks at her, mentioning her autism and mocking her appearance. 

Despite the backlash, Greta Thunberg continues to motivate and inspire people to take individual action and do whatever they can to help. The secretary for the environment of Britain, Michael Gove, expressed his gratitude towards Greta and felt responsible for the current climatic conditions. Inspired by her, the Climate Emergency Fund was formed in July to which an impressive number of philanthropists have donated billions for its establishment.

People have become more aware of the unpropitious circumstances the environment is in. According to a recent report, the number of people in Sweden switching to train for domestic transportation has increased by 8%. And yes, those who are saying that this is going to have no effect on the government or whatsoever, here’s one of the effects that this had on the world leaders: Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, stated that during the upcoming financial period, that is, the year 2021 to 2027, in order to alleviate climate change, every fourth euro that will be spent within the European budget is going to be utilized by adopting various mitigation techniques. This is a testament to the effect of dissent on the government.

To be honest, when I first saw Greta Thunberg’s speech at the UN assembly, I was a little uncomfortable. I felt like the speech was a little exaggerated and dramatically delivered. Now I realize why I felt that way. Now I realize why so many people, be it people of power or just ordinary citizens, are so intimidated by what a 16-year old girl says and get so defensive when she openly criticized them and stated the facts. It seems that the gravity of the situation continues to elude some of us. 

Ignorance is not bliss. It’s irresponsible and fatal. When a person feels the need to comment about how a 16-year-old looks, then that’s when you know nothing intellectual and useful can be expected from them. To those who say that she is just giving speeches which is not going to have any effect or that she is being controlled by her parents, it will be a pretty good idea to research and educate yourselves before taking to social media and spewing hate. Climate change is a grave matter and it is certainly not a one-man mission. There’s no time to speculate about who should win the Nobel Peace Prize and there is certainly no time to wisecrack about the environment. The hysteria should be focused around the current adverse climatic change and not around a 16-year-old trying to help in whatever way she can.