Greta Thunberg has not only lived by her belief but battled the most brutal trolling to become an icon
US President Donald Trump is a sore loser as he is yet to rightfully win the “Person of the Year” from Time magazine — he was named one in 2016 rather pejoratively. He is yet to get a positive cultural and intellectual endorsement for the title. So he reacted to climate activist Greta Thunberg winning the honour with a “Chill, Greta, Chill” tweet and suggesting anger management lessons, conveniently forgetting his wrongdoing as a climate denier. The young, Swedish icon has been crowned for being selfless in the selfish world of politics and leaving a legacy for her generation and beyond. She has led by example, showing how it is possible to adopt a sustainable and resourceful life, save the earth and still have fun as a teenager. She just doesn’t look back in anger but answers everybody who has a question for her. To win the title of the world’s most influential person, out of a list of 301 nominees — 223 individuals and 78 organisations — and one where even Trump and US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi almost appeared non-contenders, is quite an accomplishment. For it’s just not about “popularity” or “positivity” but about the kind of “influence” she has had the world over. Coming right in the nick of the time when global leaders failed to do their bit in tackling the climate crisis, Thunberg became its de facto face. There have been several treaties on global warming in the past. Yet every year, the IPCC report testified to their failure and a resetting of goals. It was this abject failure by governments that prompted Thunberg to jolt the powers that be out of their myopia, which meant that they never looked beyond their own timelines. Nobody lived green philosophies till she countered politicians with a thunderous, “You come to us young people for hope. How dare you?” She even lived down the brutal hitbacks, being trolled as “elite pawn” and a “communist actress.” Her voyage across the Atlantic, sailing from one nation to the other in a solar-powered boat, will remain the most watched visual of the year.
Thunberg has given the much-needed inspiration to young activists in the developing world, too. Her clarity has cut through the obfuscation and helplessness of rhetoric. Be it the eight-year-old Licypriya Kangujam from India’s Manipur, who has been demanding action from the Modi Government in the current session of Parliament, or Kenya’s Kaluki Paul Mutuku, who is actively involved in conservation since college, Thunberg is inspiration for young female activists, who have been questioning establishments and demanding action.
(Courtesy: The Pioneer)