Also articulating, “you have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words”, social media users globally are sharing Greta’s speech and heralding her as their millennial saviour. Thunberg’s stance strongly resonates, and the profile she’s created to spread the word of climate change grows more significantly each second.
With #HowDareYou trending, Greta delivered one powerful blow after another to world leaders, exclaiming, “People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of mass extinction. And all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you?”.
As usual, Donald Trump’s response was nothing short of bizarre, with his later tweet responding to the speech sarcastically stating, “She seems like a happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!” A completely patronising comment, his bullying tone will never detract from Greta’s speech, which was delivered with a serious and grim-faced experience, that is completely appropriate given the subject matter.
Trump completely ignoring the fact Greta represents the principles and environmental concerns of many of us, she proves to the US President that her voice will not be dismissed. In fact, this Swedish 16-year-old is offering us all way more guidance, empowerment and truth than anybody else.
Showing that in 2019 being a global leader stems from underlining action required and being brutally honest about changes needed, Thunberg means business – both her resilience and strength shining bright.
Plus, an image depicting her steely-faced determination while glaring at Trump is being spread far and wide, captioned by David Walliams on Twitter with, “Just when you thought you couldn’t love @GretaThunberg more”.
In today’s trolling culture, backlash was clearly inevitable, yet, talk of propaganda and child exploitation seem to stem from those whose role her straight talking undermines. Online, @RedLeftie references the discrimination Thunberg has received, posting “If Greta Thunberg was an older man who didn’t have Asperger Syndrome do you think she would receive the same abuse, criticism and sexism? The answer is no, obviously #HowDareYou”.
Proving Greta is paving the way for future generations, student activist Varsha Yajam was interviewed by ABC’s The Drum show describing her speech as a wakeup call, “for our politicians saying that we need climate action now.” Varsha continued, “I’m not saying we need a transition to renewables overnight but we are not even having a conversation about the issues.”
A beacon of hope for many whose voices echo hers, Greta has undeniably fought hard for the huge platform to make a difference. Imagery of the teen sat alone outside Swedish Parliament in August last year can now be placed alongside those of her joined by millions globally fighting for the same cause which she has singlehandedly brought attention to. @mhdksafa highlighted this extraordinary achievement, tweeting: “The scale of what Greta Thunberg is achieving is genuinely incredible. This is her, sat alone outside the Swedish Parliament, Aug 2018 the first school strike. Today she’s spearheading a Climate Strike of millions of people, across 7 continents 150+ countries. At 16. Legend!”
Skipping school every Friday to carry out that 2018 protest (and subsequent global activism ever since) has nonetheless attracted criticism. There’s been concern about a teenager missing her education and encouraging others to walk out of class to protest in the #FridaysForFuture protests as well. But, it could be argued that what would more disturbing is the serious lack of word being spread about these vital environmental issues without Greta’s inspirational work. Talk of propaganda and her parents being irresponsible for allowing Greta’s activism don’t concern the future generation half as much as our planet potentially being destroyed.
And author Matt Haig also emphasises on Twitter that for trolls suggesting teens such as Greta need a normal childhood, “It’s 2019. There is not such thing. So they might as well just save the world.”
She herself acknowledged yesterday, “This is all wrong. I shouldn’t be standing here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to me for hope? How dare you!”
Leading a global team made up of us all, as Greta Thunberg so succinctly summarised, “The world is waking up. And change is coming, whether you like it or not.”