If 22nd September 2019 belonged to a grand spectacle of shock and awe called “Howdy Modi”, on the very next day, the world was shaken and stirred by a 16 year old’s #howdareyou speech at the United Nation. Greta Thunberg’s speech went viral in no time.
In the first 24 hours that followed, social media carried nothing other than adulations for the brave young girl condemning world leaders for their ‘betrayal’ in living up to promises made on controlling climate change. The next 24 hours saw a changing narrative with a very negative how-dare-she spin, questioning the veracity of its delivery.
Attacks became personal and dark. It became quite clear that no effort was being spared at destroying her creditability as an environmental activist or as a spokesperson on climate change as a representative of her age group. I could well imagine why. Until December of 2018, her influence was considered local to her home country Sweden — where she came to be known as the school kid who went on strike outside Parliament protesting climate change. Her meeting with the UN Secretary General in December last year, followed by her first address at the UN did not raise much concern with “grown-ups”. However, that UN speech of 2018 did fire up the attention of many kids around the world, and very soon, she wasn’t the only student skipping school to make a point on climate change. Her influence had gone global. The September speech not only reinforced but magnified her status as the unquestioned trans-global leader of the new generation technologically adept “Climate Warrior Kids” — which in a way does make her powerful enough to be considered “politically” dangerous — or should I say — a danger to world politics (politicians included) — should she escalate the so called war on climate change to a different — more violent level — especially when the very definition of kids as minors is in itself ready for a disruptive redefinition.
It is hard to hit back at a 16 year old — a girl of that age, even harder — one with a medical condition, the attacker would have to be an undignified monster. Had the same speech been delivered by a young lady in her early twenties or later, would it have attracted so much of positive and negative reaction? One cannot say for sure, but in all probability — would have been easier to trash. Surprising all, her detractors left no stone unturned in attacking her, highlighting her leftist ideals, her super rich parents, covert support from those who would profit from her actions, her mental illness as a means to gain sympathy, not even sparing the way she dressed and looked to create an illusion of what she actually was not — her narrative being labelled contrived, hypocritical, meant to appeal to unreasoned minds of trend followers. In effect, she was a mass appeal conjured up story serving a very disruptive hidden agenda that would far from solving the problem — create an even larger one.
Very soon, social media was abuzz with parents hitting out at kids asking them how dare they say how dare you when they were themselves guilty of being environment violators. There were parents picking up blame for having spoilt their kids and now trying to help them walk a more sustainable life; and there were parents who felt that what they did was to provide their kids a better life. If kids felt so strongly about the future let them give up all the comforts they are addicted to and the parents would welcome it. Then there were those who were clearly out to show Greta and tribe the middle finger as all she was achieving was more anarchy and no action. Strangely, in this fight between the adults and kids, the corporations and politicians Greta attacked in the speech figured no where in any of these controversial banter posts. I wonder how did that happen?
How could we, the sensible adults missed being played? I don’t really care for the truth about Greta Thunberg, but the truth “we are out of time” she spoke of is real. The answer to solving that problem lies elsewhere, one that is too inconvenient for anyone to act upon — the real #IdareYou kinds. The planet has survived many a burden in its billion of years of existence, it’s just that we are the planet’s latest dinosaurs, but unlike them with an almost certain self destruct death-wish.
Unknowingly, the parents are right. The Climate Warrior Kids will have to fight this long and hard battle on their own — with themselves — should they want to live a long natural life on this planet. The trouble is, by the time realization dawns — and it will take a long time for it to happen — it may be too late. Does Rev. Malthus’s theory finally stand vindicated?