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Who is Greta Thunberg?
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Greta Thunberg puts those most affected at the forefront

As a young 16-year-old, her emergence as the face of climate activism puts those most affected by the crisis at the forefront of demands for a solution.


The face of the movement has to come from the world’s youth. They are the ones who will inherit the world and its host of climate-induced problems.

The Argument

Greta is the physical embodiment of the future. She is young, driven and environmentally conscious. Like her peers, she will be among those left to clean up the globe once older generations have gone. Her rise to the forefront of the global climate movement puts the youngest generations, who have the largest stake in the climate change issue, at the head of the resistance. In years gone by, they have relied on leaders like Al Gore, Naomi Klein and Bill McKibben, all of whom have been compelling advocates for environmentalism and clean energy, but none of whom will have to live with the most disastrous consequences of climate change. Young people shaping the conversation around climate change adds a new dimension to the debate. It adds the dimension of guilt. Greta and her peers can effectively invoke shame from previous generations for their lackadaisical approach to a warming planet. They have contributed the least to the problem but have to pay the highest price. They are angry, and this anger can be a compelling force for change. Youth involvement in the climate change movement also unlocks a new, legal battleground. [1] More than a dozen young activists are suing the US government for profiting off of industries that have put an unhealthy level of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Their argument states that in doing so, the government has denied them their right to a safe climate.

Counter arguments

If the climate change movement really wanted to put those who would be most affected at the forefront of the movement, they would not choose a white girl from Scandinavia. The effects of climate change are already playing out on the African continent and in the Middle East. The youth of these nations are feeling the effects of drought and famine. They are caught up in wars over resources and losing family members to territorial disputes. These are the climate catastrophe’s greatest stakeholders and they should be reflected in the movement’s leadership for the best results.



[P1] As a major stakeholder in the planet's future, Greta Thunberg can more effectively mobilise the public under the climate crisis banner.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] There are others who are more closely positioned to experience the effects of climate change first hand. These would make for better faces of the climate movement.


This page was last edited on Saturday, 26 Sep 2020 at 23:11 UTC

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