By: Brandon Padilla
Greta Tintin Eleonora Ernman Thunberg, a 16-year-old Swedish environmental activist, first entered the news cycle when she ditched school in August of 2018 to protest outside her parliament, calling for stronger action on global warming and what she now calls the “climate crisis.”
This decision followed a series of heatwaves and wildfires in Switzerland’s hottest year in over two centuries. She notably held a sign in Swedish that read, “School strike for climate.” Thunberg’s increasing activism in recent months has put her under the global spotlight. With all this attention, Greta has received massive support and admiration, especially from her peers, but conversely has also received hate and attacks from others, notably those on the right side of the political spectrum.
Thunberg is diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and selective mutism. They all affect her ability to communicate with others. These conditions have unfortunately been a target for critics of her’s.
Michael Knowles, a guest on Fox News, commented on his proclaimed “climate hysteria” by stating, “If it were about science, it would be led by scientists rather than by politicians and a mentally ill Swedish child who is being exploited by her parents and by the international left.”
The outrage from these comments prompted Fox News to issue an apology stating, “The comment made by Michael Knowles who was a guest on The Story tonight was disgraceful — we apologize to Greta Thunberg and to our viewers.”
Greta Thunberg has also been subjected to criticism from Fox News host, Laura Ingraham when she played a clip from Thunberg’s speech at the United Nations Climate Summit and then proceeded to play a clip from the 1984 film “Children of the Corn” where children murder adults.
Ingraham then remarked, “I can’t wait for Stephen King’s sequel, ‘Children of the Climate.’”
The comparison drew further criticism, even compelling Ingraham’s own brother, Curtis, to condemn her actions.
Curtis Ingraham wrote on Twitter, “Clearly my sister’s paycheck is more important than the world her three adopted kids will inherit… I can no longer apologize for a sibling who I no longer recognize.”
16-year-old Thunberg is not even free from attacks by President of the United States, Donald Trump, aged 73, who sarcastically tweeted, “She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!”
Greta responded by pettily changing her Twitter bio to, “A very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future.”
All these attacks and hate, however, can’t detract Greta from delivering her message and inspiring change in the world. Her serious concern and fierce attitude coupled with her judgmental stare make her a force to be reckoned with that makes many uncomfortable and guilty of their role in the ‘climate crisis.’ On September 23 of this year, the United Nations Climate Action Summit was held in New York in which Greta Thunberg was a guest speaker.
She started with, “My message is that we’ll be watching you. This is all wrong. I shouldn’t be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you! You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words.” Her speech was chock-full of statistics and emotion that really highlighted the severity of the situation in question. She closed her speech with, “The world is waking up. And change is coming, whether you like it or not. Thank you.” Greta Thunberg continues to advocate for strong changes in response to climate change and will only lead more so in the future. Her career should be watched with great interest and her voice should be heard.