Greta Thunberg Attacked for UN Climate Change Speech

Thea Holtlund Jacobsen, News Editor

Do you remember what you were doing when you were 16 years old? I was a typical immature teenager who did not care much about what was happening in the world. But 16-year-old Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg is not typical.

On Sept. 23, Thunberg addressed the United Nations during the U.N. Climate Action Summit. Her speech was passionate, saying with tears in her eyes that world leaders are failing her generation by prioritizing economic growth over the planet.

“We will not let you get away with this. Right here, right now is where we draw the line. The world is waking up. And change is coming, whether you like it or not,” Thunberg said in her address.

As an international student from Norway now living in the U.S., I love how freedom of speech is a core value in American society.

Thunberg’s U.N. speech was both loved and hated. Comment sections on social media platforms have been boiling during the past week, as people call her everything from heroic to brainwashed.

Fox News guest Michael Knowles called her “mentally ill,” and conservative political commentator Dinesh D’Souza drew parallels between her speech and Nazi propaganda.

Comments online have said she is crazy, a liar, ugly, an actor, paid by democrats, brainwashed and that she needs help.

I do believe everyone should be entitled to their opinion, and we should respect different viewpoints. However, what I cannot respect or understand is how educated adults with jobs and families can talk about a 16-year-old girl with Asperger’s syndrome in this way.

“I admire and respect how brave this young lady is, to go in front of the world and talk about what matters to her. Climate change is real, and we need to take action right now. It’s doers like her that are gonna go out there and not just fix the world, but make this world a better place,” said Greg Monterrosa, community relations manager at Hub101, where I am employed.

This is a girl who dedicated her childhood to making the world a better place for everyone. She is passionate about the environment and wants to stop global warming.

Robert Dull, earth and environmental science department chair, said no one can argue with her facts. Dull said Thunberg is citing some of the best available science.

“If she were lying, I’m sure people who want the public to believe that global warming isn’t real would point out all the facts that she’s giving that are untrue. But instead, they’re focusing on her looks and her autism,” Dull said.

When Thunberg arrived in New York City on Aug. 28, she had spent the previous 15 days sailing across the Atlantic on an emissions-free sailboat.

I understand that people may have different opinions about climate change, but I really cannot understand why this incites adults to attack her online.

“I don’t know that anyone in the last few years, specifically anyone, you know, a child, has had the kind of impact she’s had,” Dull said.

I believe the reason that people feel the need to harass her for her looks is because they have no arguments against what she’s saying. Because there are no good arguments against climate change.

The people calling Thunberg ugly, stupid and deluded can offer their condescending comments after they have addressed the U.N., worked to reduce carbon emissions and tried to make the world a better place for everyone the way she has. Until then, I do not want to hear it.