Greta Thunberg’s speech
Greta Thunberg heeft indruk gemaakt. Het Scandinavische tienermeisje heeft klimaat-staken (“Skolstrejk för klimatet” (“School strike for the climate”)) populair gemaakt. Ik heb respect voor haar lef en doorzettingsvermogen. Echter inhoudelijk zijn er kanttekeningen te plaatsen...
Greta Thunberg’s extensive media coverage has made her a familiar figure—large almond-shaped eyes, brown plaited hair, serious expression, and diminutive stature. This month she was named Swedish Woman of the Year and also nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by three socialist Norwegian MPs. She has spoken to world leaders at the United Nations Climate Change Conference and she has delivered a talk to the World Economic Forum in Davos. Her achievements are extraordinarily impressive... Thunberg’s protests outside the Swedish Parliament and clever speeches—a TedxStockholm talk in November 2018 and rallies in Hamburg and London—have brought a fresh face to the environmental movement. Her activism has received uncritical adulation from public figures and world leaders, including Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel and US Democratic Socialist Bernie Sanders... There’s no doubt Thunberg is an eloquent, courageous, and precociously intelligent activist and an example to young people who care about the earth and its future. But it is precisely because she is such a popular and effective campaigner that it is important to scrutinise her message. In his Spectator column, Toby Young did just that and concluded that her message is nonsens... https://www.idwnews.org/organizations/quillette/when-children-protest-adults-should-tell-them-the-truth/
"Using simple and effective language, Thunberg is actually explaining – and positioning herself within – a heavily debated issue for global environmental politics. There are indeed two major positions in the debate: a “dark-green” environmentalism, that theorizes that overpopulation and man-made technology are to be blamed for our changing environment, and a “light-green” environmentalism, in which technology is seen as a potential tool to revert the anthropic effects on climate change. According to this second – and prevalent view – overpopulation is not an issue per sè: the root of the problem is the conditions of poverty and inequality that are widespread worldwide. In other words, for light-green environmentalists, the problem is the absence of technology rather than technology itself.
Greta clearly places herself in the first group, as a “dark-green” activist. She believes we need to “pull the emergency brake”, meaning we should immediately stop polluting, rather than looking for ways to contain the effects of pollution. ...
Greta Thunberg, only 15, has great intentions and wants to save the world. Though, her strategy is probably not the best one. Her simple and emotional speech reached a vast number of people over the Internet, but has it really left a clear, understandable track? Did it really help to change the views of people and politicians on the issues that affect our environment?"
(Federico Germani, Received: 08.01.19, Ready: 20.01.19, Editors: CV, RG. https://culturico.com/2019/01/30/greta-thunbergs-speech-explained/)
Her ideas are emblematic of a radical environmentalism aligned with a far-Left anti-capitalism, and parts of her speeches could be mistaken for the recital of a revolutionary manifesto. “We have come here,” Thunberg proclaims, “to let you know that change is coming, whether you like it or not. The real power belongs to the people.”....
Is this a message that children should be served without debate? ... Thunberg’s message is also profoundly cynical and pessimistic: “Our civilisation is being sacrificed for the opportunity of a very small number of people to continue making enormous amounts of money. It is the sufferings of the many which pay for the luxuries of the few,” she says. Today, Thunberg is a vegan and has renounced air travel. She claims to be independent, but in Katowice, where she spoke at the COPD24 conference, she informed her audience that she was speaking on behalf of Climate Justice Now!, a lobby group which describes itself as a “network of organisations and movements from across the globe committed to the fight for social, ecological, and gender justice.” The organisation believes that, since the northern hemisphere has caused emission levels to get too high in the first place, it should pay for the sins of the southern hemisphere..... “Why should I be studying for a future that soon will be no more, when no one is doing anything to save that future?” Thunberg asks. This is a bleak and desperate view of the world, espoused by a girl fortunate enough to live comfortably (her mother is a famous opera singer) in one of its safest and richest countries. Not only is it melodramatic, but it is almost certainly counter-productive. Demands that people panic and warnings that the metaphorical house is on fire might make for effective rhetoric, but her counsel of despair is a strange way to inspire young people.
Thunberg says she has been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, an obsessive compulsive disorder, and selective mutism, and that she has suffered from depression and eating disorders that have stunted her growth. Although her fortitude in front of world leaders and the media’s cameras show that mental health issues need not stand in the way of becoming a highly visible public person, her mindset still seems to be mired in gloom. Mental health issues are reportedly on the rise among young people, with one in eight children aged between five and 19 receiving a diagnosis of one kind or another according to official UK figures. The appeal of someone like Thunberg may be symptomatic of a wider pessimism among the younger generation. One wonders if such a vulnerable young girl should be spearheading an international movement that attracts so much attention.
Bjorn Lomborg, author of Cool It and The Skeptical Environmentalist, tweeted: “Thunberg’s solution to ‘just say no’ is not only naive and impossible. Trying to attain it will incur tens or even hundreds of trillions of dollars of net costs.” Those costs would have a dramatic impact on the way of life these protesting schoolchildren presently take for granted. Lomborg argues that instead of ploughing more money into inefficient solar and wind power, more should be invested in innovating green energy to make it so cheap it eventually undercuts fossil fuels and halts climate change for good.
The climate debate is a complicated one. It requires the careful weighing of interests and trade-offs, not the uncompromising fanaticism of an absolutist. A sixteen-year-old should not be expected to see all the nuances, but as adults, we should expose her ideas for what they are: undemocratic, fatalistic, and bereft of the hope and optimism needed to effect consequential change. Thunberg’s speeches and Manichean worldview do not offer realistic answers to the problems we face. Even if her most alarming predictions turn out to be true, solutions will have to rely upon innovation and a realistic assessment of what is possible. Activism might be driven by passionate conviction and founded on good intentions, but as Saul Alinsky, the radical American writer and community organiser, once observed: “Young protagonists are one moment reminiscent of the idealistic early Christians, yet they also urge violence and cry, ‘Burn the system down!’ They have no illusions about the system, but plenty of illusions about the way to change our world.” (Kathrine Jebsen Moore, https://www.idwnews.org/organizations/quillette/when-children-protest-adults-should-tell-them-the-truth/)
Dus haar wereldbeeld is pessimistisch en onrealistisch. Haar oproep tot protest en actie is niet productief. Waarom studeren? De wereld is er straks niet meer... we hebben geen toekomst. Dat zongen de punkbands toch al in de jaren zeventig. Toen was het de dreiging van de bom, en waarom studeren als er straks toch geen werk is? Maar de wereld is veel beter geworden. De doemdenkbeelden van Malthus en Paul Ehrlich zijn niet uitgekomen. Waarom gebruiken klimaat-/milieuactivisten dan weer/ nog steeds dergelijke rampspoed en dystopische toekomstperspectieven?
Waarom zit anarchisme en communisme altijd in milieu verweven? Goed voorbeeld is Groen Links, maar de Sovjetunie en de voormalige DDR hebben toch getoond dat milieu in dergelijke maatschapijen niet gedijt? Hoe paradoxaal het ook voelt, volgens mij is kapitalisme de oplossing omdat je intuïtief daar waarde wil verkrijgen. Milieu dient dan wel waarde te hebben. Het wordt echter gewaardeerd. Niet voor niets liggen de dure villa's in het groen!