Greta Thunberg’s speech caused mayhem, as it very well should. While the side of the good fight echoed Greta’s words, the other side resorted to backlash and bullying – seemingly forgetting that Greta Thunberg’s merely a child, one that should be in school, free to enjoy her youth. But like so many young activists, she chose to abandon her predictable fate and heeded to the call, one that so many others continue to ignore: we are dying, and the world is in dire need of change.
People were quick to turn to social media, a place where we spend an unhealthy amount of our time in now. People tell us that social media is turning into a toxic space of judgment and hatred, but to its much deserved credit, it is also here that we see experience the rest of the world, and where I first “met” Greta. I first browsed through her photographs; my first thought was that she looked like someone I could be friends with at school, but then I found that people on the Internet have listed all the things that made me different from her. For one, she’s told everyone that she suffers from what they call the Asperger syndrome, which I would later find out to be a kind of autism. I know people from my school dealing with different forms of autism, and although difficult at times, my friends and I find nothing wrong with them. It comes an enormous shock to me, how these people could treat so horribly a little girl they’ve never met– and I wonder if it were me, would they treat me the same way? If it were their children, or their brothers or sisters, would they be subjected to such animosity?
I watched Greta Thunberg’s speech, fascinated. In a room full of adults, world leaders no less, she was fearless. She told them that they were endangering her future, our future, and no one was willing to act except praise her, give her awards, and continue to knowingly take away her life as a child. Greta knows that it’ll be our burden to bear, the hope of the children of tomorrow. I wonder, though, as those adults retaliated – do they even understand what Greta Thunberg’s speech means? Do they understand the extent of impact those worlds hold? I’m not sure they do, but it’s clear to me, my friends, and the youth from across the planet: our beloved habitat, as we humans know it, is descending towards a phase that would make it uninhabitable, and what else is more important than saving it for posterity? What would the world be without forests that help us breathe and oceans to provide for us? As you continue to plow through our lands, what would concrete towering over us all and gadgets decorate our arms do when we have no more food left to eat? How did a life of greed, power, and money become more important than thriving lands of lush green and ocean waters clear blue?
So, no – all you adults, world leaders, educators, legislators, parents – we are not afraid of Greta is feeding us lies about the world. We are not afraid of Greta Thunberg’s speech, of her anger, of her passion. We are her. Greta Thunberg’s speech encapsulates all our sentiments, forcibly hushed because of our lack of voice. Unfair though it may be to ask her to lead us in this battle, she has risen from being alone in the streets with her placard, to inspiring children like me to finally take a stand against this thoughtless destruction of our abode. What is the point of going to school when the world turns to a wilderness devoid of life? What is the point of dreaming dreams, of wishing for tomorrow’s blessings when there is to be none? This is the truth, and there’s no running away from the truth
We are angry, and we’ll continue to be by Greta’s side, and all the youth activists trying to make a difference, because we are one with them. You have left the world in such a terrible state, taking and taking for progress’ sake. As adults who should know better by now, everything remains to be a game still, but we are not playing.
Continue to try and discredit Greta; you only retaliate because she makes you feel uncomfortable. There are no tricks, no politics at work. The truth always makes people squirm, and now that it comes from a child, there is shame bubbling in your cores. Truth from a child stings with such venom. We are simply pleading for our futures with passionate intensity, and there isn’t much to malign, is there? As children, we see through her mental illness you so desperately try hard to point out, because we understand more than you do; she’s not different. I find it funny that all of these must come from a mouth of a child like me, as if I’ve known and experienced life already. You adults just bicker like children, fight like children, and scream “uncle” when someone points out the truth.
But here we are now, and we refuse to back down. In defense of Greta Thunberg’s speech, we take to the streets and call for change. Make no mistake, we will abandon our classrooms and our homes, and we will continue to yell the truth that makes you feel uncomfortable. And we hope that feeling turns to fear, and fear turns into action. Your time to reverse the damage has come.