The conservative reaction to the recent national school strike for climate change was horribly predictable. We heard the usual shock jock slurs that the kids only wanted a day off or that they would be heading to the mall or Maccas to spend the day. There was however a new element of criticism and that was ‘anxiety’ – supposedly generated by the hard line global green movement and campaigners such as Greta Thunberg, labelled by Miranda Devine as the “shrieking, raving, weeping, wrathful climate evangelist.”
The argument put forward by everybody from Alan Jones, Fox News and Donald Trump was that school kids were being subjected to unnecessary doomsday nervousness by the political fear mongers of the green left. They essentially said that teenagers were incapable of thinking for themselves on these kind of issues and that adults were a darn sight more intelligent and discerning.
The Murdoch media in particular found a convenient ‘whipping girl’ in the courageous young activist Greta Thunberg. They could have targeted the 93 year old David Attenborough, who not only supports Greta but essentially preaches the same message, but hey, that would not have looked good.
Instead we’ve had Miranda Devine, currently stationed at the New York Post, as part of the tacky tabloid’s pro Trump campaign, telling us:
“For the autistic Swedish schoolgirl, the so-called climate crisis has become a personal torment”.
After lambasting her and describing her impassioned UN speech as “hysterical nonsense”, Devine goes on to say:
“Somebody should be arrested for child abuse. It’s grotesque that a child already emotionally vulnerable due to her condition, has been so indoctrinated by adults.”
Yes, let’s blame the whole thing on autism and the manipulation of adults although you would have to ask where the real child abuse is coming from? Greta may have overstated her case but why demonise her as Devine and many others of a similar ilk have done?
If you believe in democracy and the future of the planet the sight of thousands of school children worldwide, demonstrating against climate change, is an inspiration. It might also suggest the coming generation of young adults is potentially a lot more intelligent than their forefathers who have often done their very worst to bugger the environment.
The suggestion no doubt scares the hell out of the status quo but there is lots to suggest that the next generation of voters could be infinitely more intelligent that the current electorate. Regardless of traditional schooling teenagers now have a world of information through the internet at their finger tips, and there’s every indication many are using it to become exceptionally well informed.
Unlike those much older, their brains have yet to be dulled by years of drinking alcohol, listening to 2GB, reading the Daily Telegraph, watching Sunrise, Today and Fox After Dark and believing there is nothing wrong with Scott Morrison bromancing with a man who believes it’s okay to grab a woman by their genitalia and sleep with hookers.
This coming generation might even be slightly autistic, overly anxious and demonstratively passionate in what they believe. But unlike the tired old hacks currently in charge this generation has the foresight to look to the future – and fight tooth and nail for it. In the words of Harrison Ford, speaking at the recent UN Climate Summit:
“World leaders should get the hell out of the way and let angry young people save the planet.”