Greta Thunberg: 'You have not seen anything yet,' climate activist says as Davos nears

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/01/17/greta-thunberg-you-have-not.html

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Nobody does a “do not fuck with me” look like she does. The Hammer of the Gods is in her eyes.

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And a million bitter old white men terrified of a 16-year-old girl have their fingers poised over their keyboards, ready to unleash the memes…

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Spoken just like a supervillainess.

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“When heroes conspire to destroy the world, it takes a villain to save it” … Sound like a good film, i’d watch it.

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And a million encouraged old white men who think she’s done excellent work and who support her will also continue to comment, in her support.

As Greta herself knows, old white men are not a monolithic block. And the people who are terrified of her are not terrified of her because of their age or racial category, they are terrified of her because they profit from the status quo, and would not thrive in a fair, carbon-neutral, life-enhancing economy.

But many young people (like you, judging from your photo) who see color first, and are often blinded by race, obviously do not listen to those of us old white people who have worked to reduce climate heating and increase environmental protections for many years. So it’s good they listen to Greta - and we support her, since she is such an excellent person. She is our voice too, as well as the voice of young people.

She is 17 now, by the way.

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Am I doing this right?

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avengers-endgame-thor-lightening

We should replace Natalie Portman with Greta for the upcoming Thor…

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Fifty years ago I was ten, and that summer of 1970, a friend and I had a petition to get a bike path locally. It was a few montgs after Earth Day, though it was about riding our bikes safely rather than environment issues. But I’ve b been driven a car, rarely get in one.

And somehow I got old, that serious illness last year made me lose much of my hair, and I lost so much muscle that I’m still.not very mobile, so the cane makes me seem even older.

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Despite the photo, I’m an old white guy myself. Clearly we’re not a monolith. But the frantic online reaction to her seems to come primarily from a particularly withered and pale demographic that I (and you?) share.

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I’m just saying their age and racial categories are not what’s driving those hateful people. When we underscore their age and color, rather than their belief in personal profit at any public cost, we lose focus and are less effective.

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Said . . . an older white guy? Like so many other older white guys are saying? Like, maybe at a higher rate than among any other demographic?

I know white guys don’t like to think that their being white guys has anything to do with who they are and what they do. But, pro-tip: it so often does.

And yes, obvs, #notallwhiteguys, etc etc

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What, exactly, are you trying to say, Millie? That I’m a secret capitalist? A secret white supremacist? That all of my comments over the years condemning racism of all kinds are some kind of white conspiracy?

How does my being white matter to my support of Greta Thunberg?

Your note seems to imply that something wrong is going on because I’m seen as white - but what, exactly, is it? How, exactly, is my color important here?

Please remember that people like Martin Luther King and W. E. B. Du Bois have also said that we should not consider people’s color first, and that race is a distraction. Do you think it is somehow “too white” of me to agree with them? It’s odd to me that paying attention to people’s other qualities and beliefs, instead of focusing mainly on race, is still controversial.

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It would be naive to assume that those most responsible for global warming are somehow in denial about the consequences of their actions. They are eager to frame the coming riots as a struggle between backwards peasants and the middle class.

Their preperations for the apocolypse have nothing to do with installing capable world leaders. Clowns like BoJo and Trump are perfectly suited to attract wrath and offer only ashes.

They are uninterested in climate mitigation as long as there is a public opinion capable of being moulded. Investments in the guardian economy, colleges for security guards, weapons manufacturer - basically preparing for a zombie apocolypse of pissed-off-have-nots with nothing to lose.

They have history on their side. Its always been easier to destroy than to preserve, easier to tear down than to construct.

The more I think about it, this drive toward a second civil war makes perfect sense. Its the only way to create enough chaos to ensure the books all seem to balance in the aftermath.

As a struggle for a livable climate, this debate is preaching to the choir. The congratation is too distracted to act. But as a struggle between have and have nots, its all too familiar.

Greta Thornberg seems to me, just as carefully selected an opponent as BoJo and Trump. There’s little chance of her igniting the kind of spark that Ghandi or King were able to inspire.

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If that’s how it seems to you, you have not been paying attention to actual facts. Ms. Thunberg (note the spelling) started her activism on her own. She was not prevented from doing it by adults, and many of the people who have joined in her activism have been adults, but that’s not at all the same as your accusation of cynical manipulation by adults. She’s an intelligent person, who’s demonstrated a good ability to detect bullshhit in other people.

And who, but you, is comparing her to other activists for other causes at other times? That’s irrelevant. She does what she can now, which is all any of us can do.

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Maybe not but, to paraphrase @milliefink, it’s not just a random coincidence either.

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That doesn’t matter. It’s old white people that have the power, influence and money to change things. That may be an uncomfortable truth, but it’s still truth.

Your role, and mine, as part of that demographic is to 1) acknowledge the truth and 2) take action that influences that same demographic to change.

And the argument that the demographics don’t matter is false on its’ face anyway - the demographics of the people who will suffer most if the old white dudes do nothing are not old white dudes, which is why it matters so much in the first place.

I have a responsibility, as a person of privilege who has reached this point in my life in part by racial and cultural privilege that I may or may not have any one whit of control over, to use those privileges to effect change. Full stop.

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What’s factual there is the part “people that have the power, influence and money to change things”, not the age or whiteness.

Yes, in the U.S. the majority (but not all) of those people are white, and some of them are old, but look worldwide, and the majority of “people that have the power, influence and money to change things” are not white. They’re corporate billionaires and politicians who are Indian, Chinese, African, Japanese, Russian, Korean, Latin American - and of many racial categories. Their races are not important, their beliefs and actions are. Ms. Thunberg understands that - it’s why she talks to international organizations.

All I have said is to concentrate on what’s important - the fact that those people have economic and social power and they are working against the reduction of greenhouse gasses and against the preservation of ecologies because they believe their personal profit is more important than humanity’s future.

It’s very American to see age and race first, and to try to make race stand for things it just doesn’t fit. That’s an uncomfortable truth, but it’s still truth.

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