Reality Check: No One ‘Stole’ Greta Thunberg’s Childhood

16-year-old Swedish climate change activist Greta Thunberg said we all “stole her childhood” during her teary, emotional speech delivered in late September at a United Nations event. Because of our collective neglect for the climate, Greta feels she can’t live a normal childhood, and must instead become a professional protester.

Apparently, her parents haven’t told her that she can, and probably does, have both.

Many of us were completely unfamiliar with Thunberg until her climate change sob story went viral. And we understand the appeal: discarding however you feel about climate policy, the speech is well-delivered and Greta herself is clearly an educated young woman. That aside, not one word of the speech contained an iota of policy: rather, just highlighted that urgent action on climate is needed.

We’re not going to be those people that say she shouldn’t be allowed to speak. That’s a progressive tactic, and we have no patience for it. We’re just going to point out that it might be a bit premature to coronate her as the figure head for a trans-continental political movement.

And let’s be honest about this: this is politics first, climate science second. Again, the principles of free speech allow for both, but let’s not pretend there’s an agenda here.

Greta’s parents seem like they have the means to encourage her to enjoy her childhood a bit more.


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