Arguably the world’s most well-known climate activist and a true Enviral favourite, Greta Thunberg’s first docuseries has been released on BBC iplayer… and we’re loving it.
After slapping it on the telly with a warm brew in hand, we couldn’t resist diving deeper into our favourite bits and exploring the themes.
Now you know that we love a story at Enviral, so imagine our joy when Greta kicked things off with a reference to ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’. This literary folktale (written by Hans Christian Andersen) follows a vain emperor who gets tricked into believing he is wearing a suit made of special fabric, which can only be seen by those who are worthy. After walking through the city with crowds of people pretending they could see his suit (and not his birthday suit!), it takes one innocent child to speak up shouting out, “but he hasn’t got anything on!” – Initially, the boy’s father ‘corrects’ him, however, one by one the majority finally realise that they are not alone in their thinking. Quickly the town realises there is strength in numbers – Sound familiar?
This fitting tale can be applied to Greta’s story – a child who broke from the norm, made her voice heard and challenged those in charge. When she spoke, we all listened.
Courage is found in the unlikeliest of places, she said this herself. Through executing some insane emotional speeches, Greta has drawn attention to the planet and inspired a generation to stand up and be heard. Having started a global movement, her focus has now shifted to science, solutions and ensuring genuine positive action. Who can forget her rousing COP25 speech which outlined many of the hard facts and called out politicians and corporations for not taking action? This leads us to the next point.
“The science is so clear it’s impossible to avoid,” Greta claims that we need to shift the rhetoric from opinions and polarizing political views to science. “Politicians and CEOs are making it look like real action is happening, when in fact, almost nothing is being done, apart from clever accounting and PR.” There are too many so-called “facts” which we hear are, in truth, opinions. The evidence needs to be rigorously scrutinized.
“Governments and large corporations are more interested in finding loopholes in environmental laws, than tackling them.” Greta is on a mission to close the gap between what the politicians are doing and what science says.
Now we know as well as anyone that the narrative around climate breakdown can be complex, and we know we must keep it simple if we’re to inspire change. It’s through simplicity that we will communicate the issues and mobilise people to act.
The part that shocked us most was in a Canadian wood where she learned tree-killing bugs had been able to thrive due to rising temperatures leaving a whole forest decimated. Usually, the freezing temperatures stop the bugs from total destruction but with climate breakdown, these bugs have been left to their own devices. Meaning full-on destruction mode. This was nature’s way of rebalancing, of ensuring harmony between the natural world and the more the world heats, the less harmony we’ll face.
One of the most notable and tear jerking scenes. Greta and David Attenborough sit at a table together… we know right. In this scene, these two talk about the way the world has changed intergenerationally. Sir David takes a stance that the world is listening to the youth however its going to take a change of moral attitude from people and politicians worldwide, they need to see that “self-interest is for the past, common interest is for the future.” Seriously powerful. This meeting of two climate activist giants almost seemed like the passing of the baton from one generation to another.
In the final episode, Greta covers the relationship between the response to climate change and the response to Covid-19. When leaders want to mobilize and implement legislation for the health of humanity they have shown they can. Rapid action is what is needed to curve the warming climate. If the pandemic has taught us anything it’s that we’re stronger together and its vital we take these learnings and apply them to the climate crisis.
Throughout the series, this impatience was clear. The time is over for sitting around, for making plans and for talking things through… we need to act and we need to act quickly.
“Many people often ask me if I’m an optimist or a pessimist. I don’t feel that we need to feel hopeful in order to act. The only thing that creates hope is action and if there is no action, there is no hope.“ – Greta.
Oooooooooof. We can’t wait to see what else is to come!
This series gives us a sense that for all Greta has done, she is only just getting started. It showed us that the science is clear and the time for talking is over.
Watch the full first episode here, and get in touch with us on social to let us know what you think!
Hey there – we hope you enjoyed this blog and watch the new Greta doc. Let us know your thoughts and keep in touch on social.