Once again, Greta Thunberg has addressed a high-profile international event, excoriating the world’s leaders and global elites for their inaction in the face of the climate crisis. Once again, the responses to her speech ranged from hero-worship to character assassination.
Whether at the United Nations General Assembly in September or the World Economic Forum in Davos yesterday, the cycle has become a familiar one by now. Greta speaks. Greta is lauded and attacked. Wash, rinse, repeat. The sense of déjà-vu all over again is reinforced by the fact that neither Thunberg nor her admirers and critics ever stray far from their well-worn talking points.
Both her supporters and her detractors demonstrate how easy it is to get sidetracked by Greta, the individual. There is something awe-inspiring about the courage she displays at such a young age as she unflinchingly confronts global leaders for their failures. To some adults—especially parents of teenage kids—there is something irritating about it as well.