The Vilification of Greta Thunberg

Sarah Aguilar, World Features Editor

     Greta Thunberg is famous.

     She has been the main topic of discussion for talk show hosts, the inspiration for the future generations, and the final punchline and jab in political cartoons and interviews.

     Thunberg is a 17-year-old girl who stands in front of unimpressed, bemused politicians, sometimes lecturing, sometimes begging that they will make a change. She carries on in the hopes that they will listen to her rage, listen to the cries of younger generations, and make the changes needed. In response to her dedication and vigilance, she is vilified, ridiculed, and tormented; often the sources are the same people whom she has asked for help. 

     What then needs to be asked is: Why?

     Why are grown adults, primarily men, ridiculing a seventeen-year-old for demanding that they take responsibility for their actions and save the planet? Why is that when someone finally takes a stand nobody else wants to take, is she verbally attacked? Could it be that this same person making a stand is a child, and the last thing adults want to hear is a child berating them for their actions, no matter how richly they deserve it? Could it be that no one is ready to be criticized just yet? Sadly, in response to hearing a teary-eyed child demand change, they compare her to some of history’s most despicable people.

    Thunberg is not a climate expert, nor does she claim to be. She has never once said that she is more educated in climate change than any informed adult. All she has done is make sacrifices, setting aside part of her schooling, dedicating her time to traveling the world, all in the hopes that her effort will spark a change. She wants to make an impact with her speechesin English, a language that comes less naturally to her than her native Swedishand be able to rest assured that she did everything in her power to make a change. In return, critics tell her to keep her mouth shut.

     Adults do not always seem to know better.