Our house is STILL on fire
“Our house is on fire. #2019in5words,” was Swedish teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg’s response to Twitter creating a hashtag asking users to sum up their year in five words. The line was an excerpt from her impassioned speech at Davos earlier in the year where she lambasted leaders of the world for not being serious about climate change and not doing enough to lower carbon emissions.
Greta, however did have a plethora of five words to pick from, when Twitter asked her to do the same. Teenage world famous climate activist, Time Person of the year, 17 year old Battling Asperger’s & Misogyny, or Nobel Peace Prize 2019 nominee: Each would have been equally apt and yet she chose to highlight the gravity of climate change rather than herself. The teenager has often been belittled in newspaper articles and also by responsible world leaders who ought to know better. Brazil’s far-right president Jair Bolsonaro called her a brat, US President Donald Trump called her ridiculous while Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison asked her to let kids be kids and not create an unnecessary environment of anxiety and panic. She has been called mentally unstable, sick, a millennial weirdo by some of the leading newspapers of the free world. Her reaction to all the above name calling has been typically teenagerial. She simply alters her Twitter bio to say whatever name she’s been called. Like when the Brazilian President called her a ‘Brat” her bio read the same. It is these responses that remind us how young she really is and what a fight she’s picked. It is a fight for the future, a fight against developed as well as developing nations, gigantic corporations, and against lavish established lifestyles that the world has become accustomed to.
It is true that Greta has no power, no magic wand that can be waved to put everything right. She is important because she has brought climate change into our drawing rooms and created this movement where questions are being asked. She is a superhero for demanding the right of children to have a sustainable future.
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