by Pritha Nag and Tanvi Mittal
16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg rose to fame when she started going to the Swedish Parliament and holding up posters about climate change during the time a regular child would be going to school. Later on, she had a chance to host a Ted-talk that inspired many. With several opinions surrounding her, Thunberg has been loved and hated around the world. People admired her for her confidence and determination. She is trying to stop climate change and “make a difference”. Over the past two years, she has made several bold statements that have both shocked and awed people. Some include “How dare you?”, “We will never forgive you.” and “The young people are starting to understand your betrayal.” Despite this, she has said a lot of touching things that inspired people and changed their opinion on climate change.
Greta Thunberg blames the older generations, for causing this mess and having us come to clean it up. We wanted to find out what the generation’s opinion is on Greta Thunberg We asked Gen Z’ers (1995-2015), Millenials (1981-1994) and Gen X’ers (1965-1980). What do they think of her? And “to explain why they are for or against her.
Ms Leslie Bartley who is a millennial had to say: “I think Greta Thunberg is doing a lot for student activism. I also think that one of the reasons that she is so famous is because of her white privilege and I know there are a lot of young women of colour that really want to give knowledge about climate change and other things but are yet looked over.” Thinking about this statement, we thought what would it be like if Thunberg wasn’t white. Does she get treated differently because of her colour?
We also asked Mr. Neville who is also a millennial. This is what he had to say: “It’s a little hard to be thoughtful and think clearly when your emotions get in the way. Her speech (at the UN) was very emotional, did it hit the right chords? Yes. Could it also cloud judgment, because of her being emotions? Yes.” After thinking this out, Greta Thunberg does have a passion for climate change and wants what’s best for us. But maybe her emotion and passion are clouding her judgment and getting in the way, and that’s what’s putting people off.
After hearing what millennials had to say, we wanted to hear what our own generation thought. We interviewed Kavya Hebbar of the 7th grade to ask her what she thought. “I think that at first, she started off with a good mind, about doing something good for the environment. But then I think she got a little bit too aggressive.” When asked do you think awareness is enough the Gen Z’er responded with “We definitely need more action.” At the UN when she said “How dare you”, that just came out a little bit off to me.”
We then decided to hear what the generation being blamed for this crisis had to say. We had an anonymous Gen X’er tell us what they thought: “I think she should be in school now instead of being an activist. because there’s always a better time and place to do it.” When asked: How do you feel about Thunberg blaming your generation? Our anonymous X’er had a bold statement to say: “I think it’s rubbish. I just think it’s rubbish. Entirely blaming our generation is not right. Over the years it’s been happening, and you just need to lay your blame on somebody, so I guess we are being made this cape coat. But I think everybody has a hand in it and blaming us, is it going to get you any solutions. No.” When we compared the statements of the different generation we noticed all of them were a little put off by Thunberg. We observed people noticed her flaws, but also the good parts, but maybe the reason she is so hated is that she’s not saying it in the right way.
“She is not very balanced in what she is doing. Although the climate change issue is very important, she has to realize that with technology and development comes certain negative things as well and if you want the good things, you have to be prepared for the bad things as well,” says Shruti Mittal, a Gen Xer. She also says that “The fact that she is spreading awareness is amazing but it needs to be followed up with something more. You can’t tell the world about climate change and then do nothing about it. It’s very well to stand up and make some noise, but then you need to have some solutions in mind.” When we asked her about how she feels about Thunberg blaming Gen X’ers, this is what she had to say.”Our generation was at a turning point for very big technological advancements. It involved the coming of the internet which revolutionized the world in an in a big way.” she also says, “Its not anyone’s fault and it’s a phase of life. If a whole new revolutionary change happens in another generation, you can’t start blaming them.”
When asked: How do you feel about Thunberg blaming your generation? Our anonymous X’er had a bold statement to say: “I think it’s rubbish. I just think it’s rubbish. Entirely blaming our generation is not right. Over the years it’s been happening, and you just need to lay your blame on somebody, so I guess we are being made this cape coat. But I think everybody has a hand in it and blaming us, is it going to get you any solutions. No.” When we compared the statements of the different generation we noticed all of them were a little put off by Thunberg. We observed people noticed her flaws, but also the good parts, but maybe the reason she is so hated is that she’s not saying it in the right way.
It’s all of our faults. We’ve all had an impact on climate change, and the climate crisis. But now what we can do is come together, and work towards helping our world. Thunberg is doing what so many at her age can only dream off, but maybe if she said it in the right tone, and had evidence and reasoning to back up her claims, she wouldn’t be scrutinized in the public eye so much. Thunberg needs to take this criticism and work towards it because in the end all of us need to make an impact, not just one person. Blaming a generation without the evidence is going to set people off, Thunberg needs to back everything up, but also realise that we are living in the present, not in the past, and that awareness just isn’t enough.