Yesterday, I ran across today’s featured image. At first, I thought maybe it was shared by a Trump supporter. But then I looked closer at the photo. It looks like the driver of the truck is from Europe, or at least lives in Europe. Those appear to be EU license plates on the truck belching filth into the air and displaying a sign that reads, “Fuck you, Greta”.
I can only assume “Greta” is sixteen year old Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, who recently visited the United States for the first time and delivered a scathing speech to the United Nations. Greta did not fly to the United States. Instead, she arrived on a zero emissions boat. Greta doesn’t fly anymore because of the emissions poured into the atmosphere by the aviation industry. Greta’s mother is an opera singer who has quit flying for the same reason. She now performs in musicals instead of operas in a bid to help save the climate.
In her lilting British accented English, Greta chastises world leaders for “stealing her childhood” and being more focused on money than saving the planet by protecting the environment. I think she’s very impressive. I remember being sixteen years old and, at that age, I could not conceive of doing what Greta is doing. She’s clearly very upset, yet she maintains composure enough to clearly tell off the world in a language that isn’t even her mother tongue.
Naturally, because Greta is so articulate, some people seem to hate her. A few seem to pity her, claiming that she’s being exploited by older people who are pushing a false agenda. Plenty have mocked Greta Thunberg on social media, questioning her mental health and motives. Some have even put derogatory signs on their personal vehicles. Quite a few have their heads firmly lodged in their assholes, denying that climate change is a real thing. Below are just a few of the memes I’ve seen on social media, slamming Thunberg for standing up against climate change deniers. Some of the memes I’ve seen are truly offensive and hateful.
I’ve been around for 47 years now. When I was a child, we had regular snow in the winter. By September, temperatures in Virginia were coming down. We didn’t have so many devastating hurricanes, and the idea of visiting Antarctica or the Arctic Circle was a pipe dream for most people. The climate was just plain too brutal. How things have changed since my childhood. Every day, I read about ice melting, starving polar bears who can’t find food in their natural habitats, ever more powerful hurricanes that destroy lives, and ever warming temperatures in places that used to be more temperate. Hell, even twelve years ago, when we moved to Germany the first time, I remember we had snow in November. Even though that was strange for someone from Virginia, my first German neighbor said that when she was a child, there was a whole lot more snow. It’s noticeably warmer here now.
But people don’t want to believe the warnings. They want to label Greta Thunberg as “crazy”, a “spoiled brat”, or a “puppet” controlled by adults. How can people listen to this amazingly articulate, brave, intelligent young woman and come away with the idea that she doesn’t think for herself? My guess is that the haters simply haven’t been exposed to anything beyond their own bubbles out there in Trumpland. Don’t these people enjoy breathing non-polluted air, eating good food, drinking clean water, and being comfortable? Don’t they care about anyone but themselves and their own convenience? I guess not.
I don’t expect to live as long as my grandmother did. In fact, I hope I don’t. I had always wanted to have children of my own, but having seen the state of the world these days, I’m kind of glad I never did. I would worry very much for them. I don’t blame Greta Thunberg for wanting to do something about climate change. I think she is extraordinary, even if her efforts don’t amount to anything substantial in terms of law changes, although personally, I think she’s already influencing people. She’s clearly extremely intelligent and has shown tremendous resilience… and best of all, she is not a hypocrite. She practices what she preaches.
I think the “haters” should pull their heads out of their asses and wake up. Sadly, it may already be too late.