In recent weeks the Greta Thunberg phenomenon—the fifteen-year-old climate change campaigner— has swept the Western hemisphere, culminating with her impassioned speech at the UN. The rest of the globe, including the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitter (China) has felt it beneath their dignity to react to an overwrought, psychiatrically abnormal child that appears to have been stage-managed by shady oligarchs pursuing a globalist agenda. Some people even went as far as calling this phenomenon “political pedophilia” and calling for her handlers’ prosecution. But the West, where dignity is currently in short supply, has seen major youth protests: in 156 cities, with 100,000 marching in Berlin, 60,000 in New York and four million participants total. They called for a “Green New Deal” which would eliminate all fossil fuel use by 2030. I believe it to be a sort of enforced stupidity—forcing simple and unworkable solutions to complex, unsolved problems.
I have been unsure whether I should respond to the Greta phenomenon at all. After all, she is only one in a long series of children paraded in front of the mass media as part of a political ploy. There was, for instance, Severn Cullis-Suzuki, David Suzuki’s daughter, who at age twelve spoke at a 1992 UN climate conference in Rio about the danger of holes in the ozone layer. Since then the ozone layer has pretty much stayed the same and nobody can prove whether this has much of anything to do with the Montreal Protocol. Severn went on to study at Yale and then on to a career in environmental activism and journalism, so all’s well that ends well, ozone holes notwithstanding. Perhaps Greta will do just as well, carbon emissions and global warming notwithstanding. After all, her native Sweden is rather well insulated from climatic fluctuations. The onset of the next ice age (due any millennium now) would make it unlivable for tens of thousands of years, but this is not a big worry as far as Greta’s great-great-grandchildren are concerned.
But then I thought that all’s not necessarily well with Greta, who appeared distraught, if not to say emotionally disturbed, in her monomaniacal focus on an issue she I am sure doesn’t understand (because nobody does). This sort of obsession is contagious, and if left unchecked could lead to mass psychosis among young people. Those of us who have achieved a modicum of wisdom and perspective have a responsibility to talk to young people and to try to counteract the hysterical influences of those who would lead them astray for their own political ends. And so I decided to write an open letter to Greta (open to all Club Orlov members, and, of course, to Greta, should she wish to join).
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