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This is Why People Feel Challenged by Greta Thunberg

I’m pretty sure we’ve all heard the name Greta Thunberg in the past year, the 16-year-old Swedish environmental activist with Asperger’s syndrome. She’s known for speaking her mind and not being afraid of making people feel uncomfortable and guilty for not doing anything to try to stop climate change. 

The world that older generations are leaving us with is not a great one. There are fires everywhere, animals are going extinct, there is too much plastic in the ocean and on landfills, and tons of people are dying because of different types of atmospheric phenomena. However, this girl has come to make a change and, in the process, make some older people feel challenged with her words and actions. These are the reasons they feel this way about her.

People don’t like being told the truth.


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This truth I’m talking about is that we’re the ones leading us to our extinction. Just because you can’t see an evident change in your country’s climate doesn’t mean that the rest of the world hasn’t suffered changes. Some people convince themselves that there’s no real evidence of climate change (even if all we can see is proof of it) and manage to convince others of the same; for example, Donald Trump saying that climate change is a hoax led his supporters to believe it too. Others deny climate change because they don’t have any information about it at hand and then remain misinformed because they don’t want to alter their lifestyles.


People don’t like young girls speaking their minds.

Misogynistic middle-aged men make most comments attacking Greta Thunberg. Australian Sky News host Chris Kenny describes Thunberg as a “hysterical teenager” and mocked the adults that applauded her UN speech, also telling her that she needed to “lighten up” and save her hysteria for some pop band. Donald Trump made comments about the activist and how “She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!”. The misogyny is quite evident when you realize that men like Leonardo DiCaprio have also given speeches about climate change but haven’t received nowhere near as much criticism as Thunberg. This criticism from men comes in part because she’s criticizing capitalism and its consequences.


People favor capitalism.


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The end of climate change entails the end of capitalism, which is an economic and political system controlled by private owners for maximum profit. Capitalism and mass consumption is what has caused this high pollution. Companies led by rich people continue to pollute by creating more plastic and damaging the land to make more products to sell. Thunberg attacks capitalism and, at the same time, the world views of many people. The end of capitalism would mean a significant loss for the wealthy people in the world because it will mean there’s no more exponential gain for them profit off of. People also believe that capitalism is the best option even though it means some people are much more wealthy than others and that people are roaming the streets because they can’t pay for somewhere to live. 


Climate change is still here, and it’s not going anywhere until we do something about it. I think all of us need to work on trying to make the world a better place for us and the generations that are coming. If we all put our effort, I’m sure we can make the world better, with less pollution and more happiness. Greta Thunberg must be trying to make a change and making people uncomfortable with her words, which means she’s getting a reaction and making others aware of the problems we’re facing. We need to be better humans together!

Angélica is a Comparative Literature and Public Relations and Advertising student in the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus. She's a wannabe writer that can be found cuddled up in her bed reading a book. Her biggest obsession is Harry Potter and anything to do with it. She has a lot of dreams for her future and hopes to work in a publishing house someday.
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