For the past week, my social media feed has been full of memes, cartoons and essay-length posts chastising Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old climate activist from Sweden. Despite her young age, Thunberg has been widely influential in organizing global climate strikes like the one Emory students joined on Sept. 20. With a Time magazine cover and several appearances at the United Nations already under her belt, Thunberg is well on her way to changing the world. Even her ideological foes can’t stop talking about her.
Conservatives have pulled out all the stops to thwart Thunberg: accusations of childishness, mockery of her autism spectrum disorder and comparisons to horror movie characters, to name a few. Many of those now taking personal shots at Thunberg were quick to defend the Covington Catholic teens from online harassment earlier this year. It seems that minors are fair game for personal attacks when you disagree with their politics.
Climate change deniers have clearly lost in the marketplace of ideas and are resorting to crude, immature character attacks. Thunberg echoes the scientific community’s consensus on the issue and demands action from world governments. Is the notion that politicians should craft policy in response to scientific data and public pressure really so outrageous?
I don’t care if it’s Barron Trump, the Covington teens or Greta Thunberg. Let’s all agree to stop harassing kids.
Zach Ball (20C) is from Griffin, Ga.