By William J. Furney
Whether Greta Thunberg wins the Nobel Peace Prize next week for her environmental campaigning is irrelevant — because the Swedish organisation with its money from the inventor of non-peaceful dynamite is itself irrelevant. It gave its top gong to Barack Obama just after he became president and had done nothing of note; but he was so very liberal, and so are those on the not so noble comitttee (and, increasingly, mired in scandal, of the sexual harassment and corruption variety).
Sixteen-year-old Greta, who says she has no friends and feels lonely and who eschews plane travel because of its hefty carbon footprint, has not brought about any kind of peace in the world. But she has raised the vital if vexing issue of climate change — many believe, based on scientific research, that we are rapidly destroying the world with our lifestyle-based carbon emissions, while others scoff at the entire notion, saying global warming is nothing if not cyclical, and there’s nothing to get worked up about — to a new and global level of consciousness.
That’s because the hot-headed, pigtailed one (who, incidentally, has Aspergers, which is said to cause those afflicted to obsess about one thing, almost to the detriment of everything else) went on school strike a while back and marched to her local politicians’ place of business to make her alarm about climate change heard. Then, more recently, she sailed across the Atlantic, on a multimillion-dollar yacht with spartan facilities that did not even include such basics as a toilet (go in a bucket and chuck overboard), and made a beeline to the United Nations headquarters in New York.
She was just in time for the annual gathering of world leaders known as the UN General Assembly, and the tiny girl infamously let leash, and made a Munch-like Scream-face at passing American President Donald Trump. An avalanche of praise and mockery cascaded onto the pale-faced, angry, Nordic child.
Addressing the UN’s Climate Action Summit at the world meeting, Greta lectured all those before her, and beyond, courtesy of a gleeful media lapping up the bizarre spectacle.
“This is all wrong. I shouldn’t be up here,” she thundered.
“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!”
As though her life were immediately at risk — which led some commentators to suggest she was causing unnecessary anxiety among her fellow teens, as though the sky was about to fall and the world end — she continued: “You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. And yet I’m one of the lucky ones. People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. 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!”
She’s had more than her 15 minutes of fame, but Greta is far from done. Instead of heading back to school after her alarmist UN words, the contentious one hotfooted it to Canada, to berate politically imperiled premier Justin Trudeau — liberal of liberals, except when he’s in blackface (and using two carbon-spewing planes to crisscross the vast country during the current election period) — for not doing enough on the environment.
Who is this annoying brat ? (Greta.) In a column last weekend, TV motormouth Jeremy Clarkson branded her exactly that, and told her to go back to school and get an education before daring to scold adults running the world.
Greta’s seemingly not interested in learning. She’s popping up at climate events all over, including in Iowa this week, where she spoke at the University of Iowa and to a crowd of 3,000 who had turned up for a climate change gathering. She’s determined to get to Chile for a big climate conference later this year, where she hopes to make an equally big impact — but no one has a clue, probably including her, how she’s going to travel that giant distance without the help of those derided craft in the air. (Or how she will get back, eventually, to Sweden.)
It’s all kind of like a wild gap year gone totally mad, and she surely loves it all — the unrelenting attention she would never have got had she stayed holed up in her bedroom in Sweden, crying into her laptop and soya milk.
Clearly, Greta’s parents — who are obviously funding the entire affair — are her biggest fans. She got them to turn vegan and convinced her opera-singing mother to stop flying, effectively ending her career. That’s crazy devotion, but have they given her far too free rein?
At least Great is overwhelmingly positive in what she’s attempting to do, and is giving up everything to try and make a change and save the environment. That, after all, is all we have. So if anyone deserves the Nobel Peace Prize this year, it’s almost certainly this powerhouse teen who wants us all to go incredibly green.
If more people had such rock-solid conviction, instead of obsessing about the latest trends, who’s saying what on social media or what’s on TV, the world certainly would be a better place — and hopefully way more peaceful.