Why The Gretaphobia?


Disclaimer: The views expressed within this article are entirely the author’s own and are not attributable to Wessex Scene as a whole.

The world is dying. At this point, it’s not something up for debate. It is a fact and we’re not doing enough about it. For years we’ve poisoned our planet, taking its resources for granted and the only true legacy of the older generations will be that they’re the ones who could have a made a difference but decided not to. Even when we have climate activists like Greta Thunberg, a girl who has spoken out against the state of the planet, it’s not given birth to conversations of change but instead a world of old white men and people in power who just like to talk about how much they hate Greta.  Celebrities like Jeremy Clarkson, Piers Morgan and Katie Hopkins have all publicly attacked the young activist for different reasons, but there is one question. Is their Gretaphobia a mere symptom of their ignorance and guilt?

Greta Thunberg has always had an uneasy presence within recent talks of climate change, most likely because of her unabashed assertion that those responsible for the current crisis are the current generation of adults. With the spotlight on her and the youths of the world agreeing with her cause, she exposed the villain: the adults of the world, the ones who have seen the ice caps melt at an unprecedented rate, the ones who have recorded a rise in CO₂ emissions and other greenhouse gasses, the ones who have watched temperatures on the planet reach new recorded highs, and have done very little to combat it. She has brought the attention on them, raising them on a platform to be held responsible, and no one really likes being told they messed up.

It’s the truth. The signs of our dying planet have long been present in science but there’s always been a backhanded approach of dealing with it later. Now though, youths like Greta have pointed out we’re entering a dangerous point in time where change happening later down the line may be too late. The youths of the world are not the ones currently making political decisions, signing climate agreements or running large industrial corporations who pump tonnes upon tonnes of pollution into our atmosphere. Instead, the ones doing these things are the current adults of the world, and therefore they need to be accountable.

Yet, being accountable for potentially killing the world is a tough pill to swallow. What isn’t a tough pill to swallow? Protecting your pride and thinking your generation is being attacked by a “mad and dangerous” girl who knows nothing about what she talks about (Jeremy Clarkson’s words, everybody). It’s easier to dismiss Greta, to tell her to go back to school and learn science than to admit your generation has made a potentially extinction-causing mistake. If you admit that Greta is right, then you also admit your ignorance and we all know how hard it is for these TV personalities to admit they made a mistake. No, instead they favour an easier approach. Attack the girl who talked sense. Bury their guilt. Take solace in the fact they’ll be deceased by the time the planet destroys humanity and live in the bliss of ignorance.

Although, we see through all this bravado. Our generation already holds the older generations accountable (thank you Greta) and the supposed Gretaphobia is nothing more than people protecting their egos and hiding the simple fact they’re guilty. It’s easier to brainwash people with fame and power, rather than publicly admitting a young adult who has lived less than a third of your life knows more about climate change than you do.


An English Literature student pessimistically fascinated with the world.

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