Greta Thunberg is making waves on the subject of climate change. If you’ve somehow missed her, she’s a 16-year-old Swedish girl who first drew attention by creating the hashtag #FridaysForFuture last year, before going on to start a global movement.
She first staged a strike outside the Swedish parliament in August 2018. By November, the movement had caught on, with many strikes being held across Europe, and just last month, less than a year after she started campaigning, she was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Unfortunately, when you get to such prominence, you invite the scrutiny of morons. Thunberg has annoyed a lot of the right people, it appears, and the last week has seen her attacked viciously online by people who are too scientifically illiterate to take on her actual points.
Thunberg traveled to the UK this week to give talks and interviews on the topic of climate change.
She’s been eloquent, knows the arguments, and that’s probably why she’s being so viciously attacked.
First off the mark was notable pie and “controvert” Brendan O’Neill. He chose to attack her on the grounds of how she, a 16-year-old girl with Aspergers talking on national television in her second language, delivered her accurate information in too much of a monotone for his tastes.
Not wanting to be left out, former Foreign Secretary and current absolute cauliflower Boris Johnson piped up. He used his weekly opinion column in a national newspaper to tell teenagers like Thunberg who are concerned that their world might burn (and who don’t usually get this kind of platform) that he’s sick of hearing their opinions. On Earth Day.
Soon the hot takes were in full flow. Helen Dale tweeted that she’d like to arrange an interview for Thunberg with a particularly ferocious UK interviewer in the hopes that she’d have a “meltdown”, an especially insensitive term given that Thunberg has Aspergers.
Next, Toby Young, who as a sentient egg you’d think would have the most to fear from the oceans boiling, joined in. He stuck to the arguments and took on Thunberg on the science. I’m just kidding. He, a son of a Baron, attacked her on the grounds that her mother once took part in Eurovision.
“She’s privileged so we can dismiss what she says,” is an odd thread to pull at when you’re the son of a Baron, which many people have pointed out.
Leaving the hypocrisy aside, it’s still not clear what these people are trying to achieve.
Attacking a young girl for how she speaks or who her parents are is not going to make a slight bit of difference to climate change. Saying she’s “cult-like” for being passionate about stopping climate change won’t alter the facts that unless we do something about climate change very soon, there will be serious consequences, and the science is entirely on her side.
These ad hominem attacks are the last resort of a generation of controverts incapable of comprehending the science enough to argue with the points she is making, and they are embarrassing themselves.
Meanwhile, Thunberg acts with dignity and continues to lay out the facts.