Greta Thunberg is a a 16 year old Swede who has inspired a wave of student strikes in the name of Climate Justice. She has been hailed as the voice of a generation. She came to popular attention following her speech at COP24 below (it’s only three minutes long and well worth a listen
In this brief speech (which sounds like it’s been written for her) she condemns world leaders for not taking climate change seriously and putting economic growth before protecting the biosphere. She suggests that the majority of people and the planet suffer while a tiny minority profit – essentially the planet and the next generation’s future is being sacrificed so a few people can get very wealthy.
She also suggests that the system might need to change if solutions cannot be found within it, before issuing and warning that the world’s leaders have run out of excuses and that change is coming, in the form of the youth presumably.
Relevance to A-level sociology
I thought this was an interesting example of how there is no global consensus on climate change, and yet maybe a good example of an ‘anticipation of the morality of the future‘, as Durkheim would argue.
It’s also an example of what I’m going to call ‘inverse age patriarch’ – Greta accuses the oldies of not being mature enough to deal with the problem of climate change, rather leaving it to the youth!
NB according to The Week (9 March 2019) – Greta Thunberg also has an interesting backstory – she began learning about climate change at the age of eight. At aged 11 she fell into a deep depression about the issue and stopped eating, talking and going to school. What turned her life around was the realisation that she could change people’s actions on climate change – her parents stopped eating meat and flying for example. She’s a selective mute and has Asperger’s – she says the later gives her a clearer perspective than other people.