Greta Thunberg is a 16 year old activist fighting for policy changes on climate change; the media is very polarized on her credibility on the topic. Climate change is an issue that could be helped by a change in policies and Thunberg’s activism is definitely bringing more attention to the situation. On the other hand, Thunberg is not a scientist on the climate issue herself and in many people’s eyes, should not be speaking on the issue.
In August 2018, Thunberg missed school to protest outside of the Swedish parliament for policy changes on climate change. The month following, Thunberg started #FridaysForFuture, a strike where students would walkout on Fridays at school in order to protest.
By November of that year, 17,000 students were participating in walkouts. By August of 2019, 3.9 million people were striking in the walkouts. Also in this past August, young “Fridays For Future” activists gathered in Switzerland to address the campaign’s progress.
This year in March, she was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, the youngest nominee thus far. Although she did not win, she was clearly starting to gain more and more recognition at the time, and Time magazine even named her one of the world’s most influential people in May.
Her dedication to reducing carbon emissions is astounding and was proven when she sailed across the Atlantic from England to New York in a boat that produced zero-carbon emissions this past August to reach a United Nations climate summit.
Even so, many critics have turned to mock her on other reasons than her activism, such as her appearance or the fact that she has Asperger’s syndrome.
One right-wing writer, Dinesh D’Souza, compared her to looking like a girl from a Hitler Youth poster and implying she was a pawn for the “progressive Left.”
Following a viral video of Thunberg’s emotive speech in front of the UN, President Donald Trump tweeted, “She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!” Many people perceived this Tweet as having a mocking tone, and Thunberg even changed her Twitter bio to “A very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future.”
Thunberg will continue to protest despite criticisms about herself or her activism.