- Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old climate activist from Sweden, delivered a fiery, tearful speech to world leaders at the United Nations Climate Action Summit this week. She also filed a legal complaint against five of the world’s biggest carbon emitters.
- Thunberg has faced severe backlash, especially from conservatives in the US.
- A right-wing commentator called her “mentally ill” on Fox News. But Thunberg has called her Asperger’s syndrome a “superpower.”
- On Wednesday, she responded to “haters” on Twitter: “I honestly don’t understand why adults would choose to spend their time mocking and threatening teenagers and children for promoting science.”
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The climate activist Greta Thunberg didn’t hold back at the United Nations this week – she chastised world leaders in a fiery, tearful speech, then teamed up with other young people to file a legal complaint against five countries, alleging that their lack of action to address climate change violates children’s rights.
“As you may have noticed, the haters are as active as ever – going after me, my looks, my clothes, my behavior and my differences,” Thunberg said.
Here we go again…
As you may have noticed, the haters are as active as ever – going after me, my looks, my clothes, my behaviour and my differences.
They come up with every thinkable lie and conspiracy theory. (Thread->) pic.twitter.com/5rS2VpZj00
— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) September 25, 2019
She continued: “It seems they will cross every possible line to avert the focus, since they are so desperate not to talk about the climate and ecological crisis. Being different is not an illness and the current, best available science is not opinions – it’s facts.”
In referring to being different, Thunberg was likely referencing her Asperger’s syndrome, which she credits her fierce activist nature to and has called a “superpower.” (At the end of her thread, she used the hashtag “#aspiepower.”)
On Monday, Fox News apologized after a right-wing commentator called Thunberg a “mentally ill Swedish child.”
“I honestly don’t understand why adults would choose to spend their time mocking and threatening teenagers and children for promoting science, when they could do something good instead. I guess they must simply feel so threatened by us,” Thunberg said in her tweets.
- Carlo Allegri/Reuters
Other climate activists also face regular abuse online. BuzzFeed News reported on Wednesday that young activists, especially girls, face floods of death threats, porn, and racist messages.
Thunberg, for her part, chose to troll one critic right back this week. After Trump said she seemed like a “very happy girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future,” the teenager temporarily changed her Twitter bio.
“A very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future,” the description read.
Thunberg ended her Twitter thread on Wednesday with an invitation to others to join her weekly School Strike for Climate on Friday. An estimated 4 million people around the world took to the streets to demand climate action with Thunberg on September 20, but she has made it clear that such demonstrations should not be seen as one-time events.
“See you in the streets this Friday!” she said.