“You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words . . . We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is the money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you?” – From Greta Thunberg’s strong appeal and admonition to the UN, September 20, 2019
Why Some So-Called Adults Are Attacking A Child
Greta Thunberg, the now famous Swedish child and prominent environmental activist who has focused the world on the risks posed by global warming, is being attacked by climate deniers, right wing politicians, major conservative media outlets like Breitbart, QAnon’s Q-Drops, even President Trump and random bloggers like Lord Monckton, Miranda Devine, climate skeptic Bjørn Lomborg, and many others. The Heartland Institute (video) is now introducing the “anti-Greta,” aka Naomi Seibt (video). Unlike Greta, Naomi is a paid spokesmodel, literally a little girl being prostituted by the Heartland Institute.
“In December, Heartland headlined Naomi at its forum at the UN climate conference in Madrid, where Taylor described her as “the star” of the show. Last month, Heartland hired Naomi as the young face of its campaign to question the scientific consensus that human activity is causing dangerous global warming.” – Washington Post
Why is this happening? It’s really very simple. Greta is seen as a huge threat. She is wise beyond her years. Her words are always carefully chosen and prescient. She has brought the most crucial issue of our time to the attention of millions of people while world leaders have called it a hoax and attempted to sweep it aside. Greta Thunberg may, in fact, be the most authentic hero in the world right now. Jealous much?
Thunberg delivered an emotional and blunt speech (video) Monday, September 23, 2019 to the United Nations climate summit. She told the assembly, “We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you?” That speech—and her glaring reaction to Trump’s arrival at the UN where they said he made quips to upset her and gaslight her behind the scenes —immediately went viral and roused backlash.
Other conservative pundits like Dinesh D’Souza and Sebastian Gorka have called her “brainwashed.” Breitbart has posted articles aimed at attacking and undermining Greta and her parents. They illustrate the concerted efforts of ill-informed contrarians, and climate deniers to fight against sanity and science and instead, perpetuate business as usual (BAU).
These climate trolls have been showing up all over the Internet to the extent that groups have been deluged with climate denier propaganda and rhetoric especially after the Global Climate Strikes in September 2019 very much inspired by Greta Thunberg’s leadership. One group, Science Alert, recently issued a “Do Not Feed the Trolls” bulletin. This is sound advice across many of these forums.
“Some of the criticism leveled at Thunberg is astonishing. It is the most vicious and the most fatuous kind of playground bullying. In an age when democracy is under assault, she hints at the emergence of a new kind of power, a convergence of youth, popular protest and irrefutable science.” – The Irish Times
Unbelievable Online Bullying and Narcissism Trend
The misogyny of these climate deniers is open and flagrant. Climate skeptic Bjørn Lomborg has repeatedly mocked and criticized Greta Thunberg. In June, he tweeted out a cartoon that implied Greta was only useful to climate activists because being young made her unassailable—in four years, he joked, she’d be replaced with someone younger still. Earlier in the year, he’d asked why the World Economic Forum was listening to her at all, and approvingly shared a Quillette article which called Thunberg a fanatic and “absolutist” and which argued adults had a duty to correct her childlike naiveté.
“At a deep level, the language of climate denialism is tied up with a form of masculine identity predicated on modern industrial capitalism – specifically, the Promethean idea of the conquest of nature by man, in a world especially made for men. By attacking industrial capitalism, and its ethos of politics as usual, Thunberg is not only attacking the core beliefs and world view of certain sorts of men, but also their sense of masculine self-worth. Male rage is their knee-jerk response. Thunberg did not try to be “nice” when she confronted world leaders at the United Nations last week. She did not defer or smile. She did not attempt to make anybody feel comfortable.” — The Conversation
“Instead, Thunberg is tough. Uncompromising. Unsentimental. Furious. And to a certain kind of adult, this is wildly discomforting. Because we expect women and girls to be smiley, solicitous, sympathetic” says Maya Crockett. Greta is demonstrating something new — inadvertently opening up a space where women and children might be seen and heard, in a world where they have long been expected to be invisible. She also shows us that telling the truth matters. The far right, with its long history of gender and racial bigotry, has exploded with a multitude of defensive knee jerk reactions to this phenomenon. Greta, a child, is turning the tables on this disastrous old-world order that has put all life in the biosphere in jeopardy. This makes her a threat on many levels.
Pastor Robert Jeffress, who serves on President Trump’s Evangelical Advisory Board and the White House Faith Initiative, had words for young climate activist Greta Thunberg as well. On the program, Jeffress referred to climate change as an “imaginary crisis,” telling listeners that Trump was right to skip the summit. “Somebody needs to read poor Greta Genesis, Chapter 9,” Jeffress said, “and tell her the next time she worries about global warming, just look at a rainbow. That’s God’s promise that the polar ice caps aren’t going to melt and flood the world again.”
This misogyny and defamation may be expected from the far right, but things have also been amok at far left wing media outlets as well. One far left group recently posted a blog asking Is Greta Thunberg a sock puppet for green capitalism?
“[WKOG’s] take on Greta is part of a wider world view shared by Morningstar and others who reduce global events to the actions of the big powers over pipelines, and treat the masses as dupes and pawns without agency. This a fake left conspiracy theory that lumps eXtinction Rebellion (XR) and Greta together with other ‘actors’ who are supposedly manipulated and duped by powerful elites into defending capitalism.” – Situations Vacant
There are many stripes of so-called environmentalism going around now. But not all of those claiming to work for climate justice are actually interested in it and it is very important to understand what they really do want. The history and backstory here is really fascinating and begins with Archeo-Primitivism, starting as early as with Guillaume Faye (1949). This shares some aspects with alt-right paradigms. Understanding climate change and political ideologies (video) is important to this discussion and it is very much a hidden history of hidden agendas. It is essential to question human extinction worldviews (video) much more in depth to understand what is really going on.
Wrong Kind of Green (WKOG) followers are sometimes called “collapsitarians.” The term collapsitarian was revived in a 2009 New Yorker article on Dystopians. Near-Term Human Extinction (NTHE) and Anti-natalist groups also fall into this category. These groups desire collapse and the annihilation of the human species (which they see as parasitic) as a sort of penalty for environmental sins. Any attempted discussion of solutions in their forums is quickly denounced cult-like as “hopium.”
They direct commentary in a well-maintained subterfuge campaign rife with psychological warfare techniques that barely camouflage the promotion of human extinction. In carefully contrived subtexts they proffer extinction as the final solution for humanity in what has become a kind of post-modern malaise-faire nihilistic doomer (video) trope, popularized in the US by the trending OK Doomer meme.
These groups have multiple hidden agendas. They rally behind inaction, defeatism, destruction, and ultimately avoidance of the issue through gaslighting and deflection. They assail Greta Thunberg while hypocritically claiming to support her. They often begin their attacks with virtue signalling and sociopathic distancing statements like “I fully support the 16-year old activist.” But then, they proceed to openly marginalize Greta Thunberg’s activism by connecting it to the neoliberal greenwashing present in mainstream political campaigns like the Green New Deal (GND), which many have criticized as flawed and which collapsitarians conveniently see as too little, too late. They fail to notice that Greta Thunberg, in no way a greenwashing capitalist, has herself criticized the GND for these same flaws. Greta constantly reminds us that she is neither a politician, a capitalist, nor a scientist; she’s a child activist.
“No matter how political the background to this crisis may be, we must not allow this to continue to be a partisan political question. The climate and ecological crisis is beyond party politics. And our main enemy right now is not our political opponents. Our main enemy now is physics. And we can not make ‘deals’ with physics.” – Greta Thunberg
“In 2019, it is banal to say that the environmental movement’s primary challenge is political. By now, advocates are well aware that IPCC reports can’t force governments to mount an aggressive response to the crisis. But there is another, less appreciated dimension of difficulty: Persuading governments to mount an aggressive response to the crisis won’t force them to mount a just response.” – The Intelligencer
In short, near-term human extinction groups are in danger of fomenting inaction and defeatism as scholar Rupert Read has said. They are also sometimes called catastrophists as eminent scientist Michael Mann (video) has referred to them. Evidently, these groups represent another kind of climate change denialism.
“[The NTHE leader] is not the opposite of a denialist. He is a denialist, albeit of a different stripe…Not evidence-based policy but policy-based evidence. Not part of the solution. Part of the problem.” – Michael Tobis, PhD, Climate Scientist
While these examples might feel like mere coincidence to some, the idea that these groups would lead the attacks on Greta Thunberg is consistent with a growing body of research linking reactionaries, and especially gender-based hate groups and evangelicals, to climate-denialism—some of the research is coming from Thunberg’s own country. Researchers at Sweden’s Chalmers University of Technology, which recently launched the world’s first academic research center to study climate denialism, have been studying this connection for years. It is not new. Still the level of viciousness, gaslighting, and narcissism displayed by these so called adults toward a child is hard to watch and frankly inexcusable. Greta, advanced for her years, is on to them too. She herself advises us wisely that adults who attack her ‘must feel threatened’.
The Pitfalls of Climate Icon Culture
The fact that Greta Thunberg has reached icon status is another factor here. However, this is not in and of itself a good or bad thing, but rather it depends on how you look at it. This is the result of typical idol making trends instigated by mass media which are to be expected to some extent and are very hard to avoid given the current cultural milieu. But as ever, these trends can have highly problematic and over-dramatizing effects as well. This phenomenon is hard to stop once started. Yet once given a world stage, as Greta has been, an activist must wield this mighty power wisely. Greta is in a position now, like it or not, to use her voice and her platform to reach ever wider circles; even though she has made it very clear that she herself never wished to be an icon.
Part of reaching large audiences in any field is making a name and a brand. When they get really big, according to journalist Caitlin Johnstone, “such movements always, without exception, become targeted for manipulation by establishment interests.” All activists in this arena must be vigilant and yet creative and collaborative to maintain the integrity of their specific message. For example, this artistic endeavor has paired Greta’s iconic words to a heavy metal anthem which has now gone viral. The important thing is that this is approved by Greta herself.
“We can appreciate and celebrate all of Greta’s efforts, and talk about the pitfalls of icon culture as it pertains to the erasure of frontline youth and keeping us fighting amongst ourselves,” said Anthony Rogers-Wright, the policy coordinator for the Climate Justice Alliance. “We can do both.”
For the climate movement to become truly united, as Rogers-Wright has said in this article The Pitfalls of Climate Icon Culture, “it has to coalesce around a specific set of facts and issues, and not a person—because people are never as perfect as the issues they stand behind. It’s just not a strategic methodology to exalt one person as an icon, especially when we’re talking about something like climate. It’s not going to be one person or 10 leaders who gets us out of this mess. It’s going to be everyone.” Never has this been more true than in the case of fighting the precarious lack of response to the global issue of climate change. This is going to take literally everyone.
Icon culture should be questioned. But deconstructing icon culture doesn’t mean we can revoke Greta’s icon status either. We just have to work with it. This means “making deliberate choices to lift up the diverse voices around [Greta], too” Rogers-Wright said. We do this for Greta as per her own wishes for others to stand WITH her in this. This has been her goal all along. Those who stand with Greta honor her wishes first and foremost. They respect her voice and the voices of all children dealing with this monstrous issue. Greta once said that she stood alone feeling shy outside her capitol building in Sweden, but she is very glad that she is not alone anymore. She has had to be exceptionally brave. She has shown the way forward for many others—and for that she should be recognized without impunity in her own right. But the idea is to stand with her AND with all of these climate striking youth engaged in a battle for all life on Earth.
Greta In Her Own Words
Greta is nobody’s “tool” as the trolls and haters have implied. In her own words she discusses her decision and the difficult choices she alone made to take on this incredible global issue with Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! When it comes right down to it, we should not listen to anyone other than Greta herself on this matter.
Essentially, Greta is the only authority on Greta there is in the world. No matter how many deniers or bigots attempt to defame or denounce her, she remains resilient and unimpeachable. She is incredibly motivating and spirited and no one can take that away from her. She is an amazingly clear, prescient and articulate speaker. She is also completely open and honest, unlike her assailants.
What is Right Anger or Wrathful Compassion?
We should all be as upset when it comes to the sixth mass extinction now underway, especially those of us who are actually adults. The fact that we are not doing enough is only another telling sign of the toxic times we live in. The well-known philosopher, J. Krishnamurti, said that “it is no measure of health to be well-adapted to a profoundly sick society.” Further, as a society we are constantly gaslighted into cognitive dissonance and forgetfulness. Greta, who has been open about being a highly intelligent neuro-divergent on the spectrum, exhibits a profound clarity that gives her a leg up on the rest of us. She proudly says “I’m different and it’s my superpower.”
“Not only that, it takes not just any child, but an autistic child to pierce through the dissembling, self-deceiving nature of the neuro-typical mind, which becomes distracted by conformity and hierarchy, and status, rather than focus with clarity upon that which is in front of our eyes.” – Kevin Anderson
Clearly, we live in an age where we’re told to not express our anger. This is also only too convenient for the fascists who stand to profit from our silence. However, eternal sages such as the Buddha or Jesus would not want us to sit idle while we ignore injustice. This is where compassionate wrath and right (or righteous) anger come into being. Greta Thunberg is now teaching the world what this kind of constructive right or just anger might look like if we were to bravely stand up against bullies, no matter how small we feel individually, as she herself does. Greta is “the embodiment of truth and fire” says Naomi Klein (video).
Mindfulness teacher Lynn J. Kelly says that “mindfully held anger is a step in the right direction. This approach requires that we contain our anger—that we meditatively attend to our anger with an emphasis on neither suppressing it nor acting it out.” Many situations in the world are unfair and harmful. What we must ask ourselves is what can I do about this particular instance that I am witnessing? Meditating on this thoughtfully will allow you to arrive at a response that allows you to take non-violent action in the world. This could mean writing a letter, making a speech, refraining from consuming for just one day, joining a protest or standing with Greta in the next #FridaysForFuture Strike Day.
In the face of abuse, emotional cruelty, rape, murder, discrimination, pollution, corruption, and brutality we should be angry for the sake of all beings. Anger simply arises and it calls out for further investigation and in and of itself is not something to avoid. In exceptional cases it can serve us if we handle it skillfully. In Healing Anger, His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s commentary on the 8th Century India sage Shantideva’s teachings of patience, anger is contrasted with hatred and he says…“anger” as it is understood in English, can be positive in very special circumstances. These occur when anger is motivated by compassion or when it acts as an impetus or catalyst for positive action. In such rare circumstances, anger can be positive whereas hatred can never be positive.
Additionally Ernesto Cortes, of Industrial Areas Foundation, talks about the difference between “hot anger” and “cold anger.” Hot anger is of-the-moment, prodding us to act irrationally on a momentary whim, and can be misdirected. Cold anger is a long term, slow motivator–an awareness that our troubles are *caused* by the current order of things–that impels us to focus on what we can do to change the source of our troubles.
Further Cortes argues, a politics of “just anger” aims to restore the spirit of democracy to democratic culture, a spirit disposed to become angry at the right things in the right way and use this passion to motivate the level of political involvement essential to striving for significant social change. A politics completely emptied of the vehement passions, of spiritedness, tends in practice to be antidemocratic. It cedes the authority of decision making to elites—experts and social engineers—who characteristically present themselves as disinterested and rational agents, intent only on maximizing fairness and efficiency. The worst thing about this is that actual victims of injustice are thus assigned to passive roles, as objects of pity and as potential beneficiaries of properly rationalized decision making.
It is necessary to have inner anger at violence, oppression, and injustice by which suffering beings impose on other beings. Remember, as St. Augustine taught us, hope has two beautiful daughters; their names are Anger and Courage. Anger at the way things are, and Courage to see that they do not remain as they are. Further, Professor Emerita Donna Haraway (video) says it is our job to make trouble in troubled times.
Additionally, we must be constantly reminded that the world these children are facing is sobering to say the least. Dr. James Lovelock, Dr. Ramanathan and other eminent scientists are saying that our population will be reduced by as much as 6 billion in the next 50-70 years as the sixth mass extinction already underway continues to unfold. To paraphrase from Dr. Peter Ward ‘a greenhouse extinction is not pretty, it’s this mass graveyard. Thus this book Under a Green Sky (video), words tumbling out, powered by rage and sorrow for what we are doing to this incredible, beautiful and abundant place.’
The rage and sorrow we all face now is untold. We must learn to understand what these children see and share their burden, and we might at least learn something from our selfish and cowardly actions on this planet so far.
Bottom Line Is: Get Help If You Are An Adult Angry At A Child
There is also unhealthy anger of course, and that is to be avoided as it only extends and prolongs confusion and suffering, This dysfunctional kind of anger is at the core of the dark side of humanity and may yet be our undoing as a species. Greta Thunberg, at just 16, is facing a surprising amount of vitriol from fully grown adults for not wanting the Earth to become uninhabitable for humanity. Even though she has inspired massive support (she’s started a movement that just last week led to the largest global climate strike in history), we cannot forget that she has also been subjected to this horrendous abuse from anonymous Internet trolls to prominent (and controversial) media figures alike.
Finally, we would think that adults would temper their language when talking about someone who is still only a 16-year-old child, but that has not been the case, and she’s been subject to jokes about her appearance, her delivery of speech in a second language as a child on the world stage, been mocked by the president of the USA, called mentally ill, and even likened to a nazi because she braids her hair. This is essentially narcissistic bullying, verbal abuse, mental cruelty, and gaslighting toward a child. Any adults exhibiting these deranged behaviors should seek help immediately. This satirical helpline is now available.
THE GRETA THUNBERG ANGRY ADULTS HELPLINE:
For adults angry at a child.
“Hi, I’m a middle-aged man with an embarrassing problem,” the fake advert begins. “I get irrationally angry at a Swedish girl who wants to save the planet. Luckily, there’s now a number I can call. If you’re a grown adult who needs to yell at a child for some reason, the Greta Thunberg Helpline is here to tolerate you.”
A Little Less Talk and A Lot More Action Please
Greta is now calling all rebels to Protect. Restore. Fund. Also follow GRETA’S FOUR SIMPLE STEPS to combat climate change. Greta is asking that we “unite behind the science” as she told the UN she herself is not telling us what to do or providing the plan, but rather is pointing to the experts who are. We are here to support children already struggling in an increasingly toxic and endangered world. Anyone not here for that purpose should simply get out of the way. Support Greta Thunberg and millions of other climate striking youth by joining the Global Climate Strikes, #FridaysForFuture, eXtinction Rebellion, the Facebook Greta Thunberg Support Group, ScientistsWarning,TV, or just do one thing within your means for the planet today.
PROTECT. RESTORE. FUND. | THE GUARDIAN
- Stop Telling Greta Thunberg to Smile: She Has Every Right to Be Angry
- The Right Keeps Attacking Greta Thunberg’s Identity, Not Her Ideas | Vox
- The Right Attacks Greta Thunberg, But Climate Strike Inspires Humanity | Real News Network (video)
- Is Greta Thunberg the Catalyst that Tips Humanity to Understand Huge Climate Risks and Finally Act? | Paul Beckwith (video)
- Greta Thunberg’s UN Speech Prompted Ugly Insults – Proving Her Critics Can’t Fault Her Actual Message
- Hate Action: Greta Doll Hanged on Bridge in Rome | EN24 News
- Exploring the Alarming Rise of Narcissism | Kim Saeed (video)
- Why the Right’s Usual Smears Don’t Work on Greta Thunberg. She Keeps the Focus on Science, and They Hate It. | Vox
- Greta Thunberg Drops Truth Bomb 2020 Davos Punchbowl
- Greta Thunberg, After Pointed U.N. Speech, Faces Attacks From the Right | New York Times
- ‘Unbelievable and Shameful’: Fox News Slammed for Attacks on Greta Thunberg | Forbes
- No One Seemed To Notice Greta Thunberg’s Critique Of The Green New Deal | Forbes
- Greta Thunberg Turns tables on Trump and Quotes His Mockery in New Twitter Bio | The Guardian
- Stuart Scott Addresses Young Folks | ScientistsWarning.TV (video)
- Attacks on Greta Thunberg Expose the Stigma Autistic Girls Face | Vox
- The Pathological Power and The Danger of Governments Led By Narcissists and Psychopaths
- Rumble with Michael More. Centrism Kills. Misogyny Does Too.
- Beckwith, Paul (2019). Is Greta Thunberg the catalyst that tips humanity to understand huge climate risks and finally act? (video). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CqLS4sjtZb0
- Beckwith, Paul (2017). Questioning human extinction worldviews (video). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wdecmKF5Ulg&t=5s
- BuddhistPeaceFellowship.org (2014). Right Anger… Retrieved from http://www.buddhistpeacefellowship.org/right-anger-and-the-path-to-the-end-of-caste/?fbclid=IwAR1dcElTAY0UUHmqta0uQ6Ln3w-43-KhMaSBHq6M0sk-NOwML4l3C8CBYXg
- Cortes, Ernesto (2019). Cold anger. Retrieved from http://www.industrialareasfoundation.org/topics/cold-anger
- Irishtimes.com (2019). Why is Greta Thunberg so triggering for certain men? Retrieved from https://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/people/why-is-greta-thunberg-so-triggering-for-certain-men-1.4002264
- Johnson, Laurie (2019). Climate change and political ideologies (video). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HA-u6sQOWhg
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- Newrepublic.com (2019). The Misogyny of Climate Deniers. Retrieved from https://newrepublic.com/article/154879/misogyny-climate-deniers
Last Updated: 06/19/2021