OPINION: Who’s afraid of Greta Thunberg?

By Cian O Broin Oct 21, 2019
Swedish youth climate activist Greta Thunberg, center in blue, joins other young climate activists Friday for a climate strike outside the White House in Washington, Friday, Sept. 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Greta Thunberg has truly taken the world by storm.

 A maverick stalwart, dancing gracefully amidst the crosshairs of the ignorant.

But who is this solitary Swedish sensation, and how has she awoken the whims of stubborn middle-aged people?

The young Swede began her career of activism in modest means at the age of fifteen.

She began by spending her school days outside the Swedish Parliament, calling on officials to put the environment and the future of humanity first.

Image result for greta thunberg swedish parliament

It wasn’t long until the teen struck the eye of the public, this time for all the right reasons. 

Her perseverance began to proliferate throughout the online world, and soon, Greta Thunberg became a household name, for better or for worse. 

Her achievements were not just evident within the virtual plain however; two multi-city protests were organised with over one million students taking to the streets in each. 

If that wasn’t enough to let the world know she meant business, Time magazine dubbed the teenager a ‘next-generation leader.’

Image result for greta thunberg time magazine

Despite these heroic actions propounded by a highly intelligent and conscientious teenager, the media have decided to voice the opinions of her critics much more stridently. 

Ryan Tubridy threw some jarring comments at the activist proclaiming that she should be, “staying in and watching films, or going for walks.” 

Tubridy being one of the more liberal-minded presenters within RTE’s top-down structure, showed his true colours where the plight of young activists amongst the climate struggle is concerned. 

Pompous and stupendously empowered, Trump gave his two cents on the work of Greta Thunberg through that infamous Twitter account of his, chastising her expression at the UN speech with the caption, “She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!” 

Image result for greta thunberg trump tweet
That wasn’t even the 12th stupidest thing Trump said that particular day.

We are all too familiar with how the 45th President feels about the ‘myth’ of climate change…

Even the affable yet highly opinionated Jeremy Clarkson had a stab at the sixteen-year-old, telling her to “be a good girl and shut up” as well as calling her a “spoiled brat.” 

Much like Tubridy’s incipient backpedaling following his comments, Clarkson was quickly reprimanded publicly by his daughter of all people. Emily Clarkson admonished the work of Thunberg, proclaiming that she ‘breathes life into the climate debate.’

It is bitterly ironic for Clarkson is one to call people spoiled brats; for the uninitiated, look up the circumstances in which he was fired from Top Gear.

The question begs, what is it about Greta Thunberg that seemingly rubs conservative middle-aged people the wrong way? Is it her proactivity? Her apprehension? Her ability to connect with the minds of young people throughout the world? Surely this is something that every dad would admire, were it his daughter. 

Perhaps this loathing stems from a place of jealousy. 

“Why her and not my daughter, niece, or grandchild?”

Or maybe it stems from an age-old obstinacy of things that should be left as they are.

The most likely reason is the fact that a sixteen-year-old is leading the charge and paving the way for a brighter future. 

Throughout time, we have listened to powerful, authoritative male figures. 

This time we are met by a young girl with a ‘disability’ who hasn’t even finished school, not to mention earned a degree.

Pendants often point to her mother representing Sweden at the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest as a sign that Greta comes from money, but apparently, you’re not allowed to come from success or wealthy means in 2019 either.

Did people bemoan JFK despite the fact he came from one of America’s most decorated political dynasties at that time?

Of course, they didn’t.

He was a male, but as soon as a female is proactive about a social or political issue, she is immediately attacked and insulted.

In the eyes of the young and hopeful, Greta Thunberg can do no wrong, yet when met with the critical eyes of middle-aged people, she doesn’t quite seem to cut the cloth. 

Why do you think the young Swede is met with so much contempt by these bitter, conservative old people?



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