On the 23rd of April Greta Thunberg, the Swedish activist who has inspired thousands of teenagers across the globe to engage most controversially in climate change school strikes, spoke to a group of British MP's about climate breakdown. Theresa May didn't turn up, and Greta dragged the UK for it's dishonest statistic bending, making it appear that we have cut carbon emission by near 40% when it's actually around 10% since 1990 as the number does not include include emissions from aviation, shipping and those associated with imports and exports, or the production which has been moved to other countries, giving them the blame. But beyond the eloquence and evidence backed words which she spoke, the most telling thing has instead been the reactions.
On the surface, this looks to be a case of the sight of an informed, educated teenage girl irritating middle aged men with her gall to be a girl with a voice, who is smarter and more valuable. For instance, the words of Toby Young, the literal son of a baron and whose father had to call up Oxford to let him in- called a 'privileged' daughter of a Euro singer, and thus is trying to undermine her message by distracting readers with irrelevant family matters and absolutely no refuting of the actual science.
Those such as Young are either suffering from loss aversion, where by someone will do anything, reason anything, to deny that they are going to suffer a loss and therefore he refuses to acknowledge the brevity of her words. Or he is simply desperate for attention and works for a right wing propaganda machine. Either way he looks like a smug egg, my least favourite egg dish.
A sightly darker side to this has been shown through Brendan O'Neill however. He wrote a praticualrily vicious piece, focusing on the 16 year old as a 'millennial weirdo'.
But O'Neills article, which mainly serves to demonise those engaging in solving the climate crisis, such as Extinction Rebellion, the school children striking or those who are living mindfuly as 'detest(ing) mass society and its inhabitants: the masses.' Spiked however, is funded by the Koch brothers. You may not have heard of them, but they have definitely impacted your life. Together, the two brothers Charles and David, are together worth $120bn (the richest man in the world) and have contributed more than $300,000 to Spiked magazine. They have set up a three armed system to influence politics, largely in America but they have a growing branch in the UK. This three armed system fund academics, think tanks and grass roots organisations as well as old school lobbying to push through reforms which they like. They want lower taxes, less regulation and everyone to just leave them alone to keep having oil spilling, butane pumping pipes basically. Over the years they've repeated been fined for oil spills, corrupted pipes and in 1999, a jury found that Koch Industries had knowingly used a corroded pipeline to carry butane, which caused an explosion in which two people died. And they are rich enough to get away with it, if no one is looking- because they personally don't get their hands dirty.
This message is serving to tell those vulnerable to the rhetoric, who feel intimidated by their lack of information so are likely to protest or reject it, that climate activists actually don't care about them, that all that these organisation really want to do is make you, the 'ordinary' people's life more inconvenient. Thus seeking to undermine the message as 'crazy' or 'when it is putting pressure on the government, it is really asking it to punish us'. O'Neil positions himself as the victim of climate activist, not the perpetuator or an ignorant attack at the command of his oil pumping bosses. But he's not original, those warning of future disasters have always been undermined as 'crazy', just look at Cassandra of Ancient Troy who warned everyone that Troy was going to burn and everyone thought she was mad.