Greta has sparked a global movement. The children are marching and millions are protesting to demand serious action on climate change.
For years, there has always been deniers – those who mock, scathe and deny climate change science and brush off the alarm as fearmongering. It’s cyclical, it’s natural, it’s part of the earth’s cycle – we’ve all heard these arguments. But now there’s a new breed of climate change sceptic.
From slamming climate activists to shaming environmentalists, this new wave of shamers is more dangerous than before. They trivialise climate change, mock the science and try to halt the movement which millions of people all over the globe have worked tirelessly to mobilise.
Since being thrust into the spotlight, Greta has faced intense ridicule, not only from online trolls and climate sceptics – but from the US President and global newspapers – serious global powers who are hell-bent on discrediting her.
And the shaming doesn’t stop with Greta – Extinction Rebellion, Emma Thompson, Leonardo DiCaprio, Prince Harry, the vegan community… these are just a few of the names that have been targetted over the last few months.
Perhaps climate change doesn’t sell papers. Perhaps instead of reading about these inspirational characters that are leading the charge to protect our planet, people would rather ridicule them – perhaps this is what sells.
It’s time to stop the shaming. How on earth are we to mobilise and unite communities in tackling the biggest threat our planet has ever faced, if we’re mocking and judging those who’ve stood up to lead the charge.
From DiCaprio’s private jets to Prince Harry’s carbon footprint – green-shamers all over the world are losing sight of the issue. Having these global megastars as the face of climate change has helped to propel the issue into the mainstream media. This isn’t a new threat – people have been aware of the dangers of climate change for over 30 years – and it’s only with the help of these influential campaigners that people have started to sit up and listen.
The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation was established in 1998 and has awarded over $80 million in environmental grants since 2010, funding over 200 high-impact projects in 50 countries. So while the shamers tweet and comment to destroy his character, he’s helped advance the United Nations climate negotiations, preserve coral reefs, protect tigers, and spread public awareness about the dangers of climate change.
He recently spoke out about the negativity surrounding Greta: “As these young people have been standing up for their right to survive, surprisingly some have reacted to this movement with insulting tweets…from people who care more about profit and their own self-interests than about your future.”
And let’s also look at Prince Harry – a huge proponent of climate change, he’s been massively outspoken on the dangers and the need to act quickly to combat its effects. Yet, instead of praising him for shining a light on the issue – the press shamed him.
Yes, if we’re to halt the effects of climate change we all need to consider our travel. Air travel is a huge contributor to climate change.
But guess what?
We’re all hypocrites.
Everyone can do better when it comes to cutting their carbon-footprint but shaming those who are speaking up on the issue isn’t the answer. We need to be coming together, supporting one another and helping communities all over the world to tackle the biggest threat humans have ever faced.
Instead of focussing on the campaigners, we should be shaming the government for fossil fuel subsidies, their lack of urgency and the lack of support for clean energy alternatives. This is what will make a significant difference to the health of our planet.
In fact, the UK gives €12bn (£10.5bn) a year in support for fossil fuels, significantly more than the €8.3bn spent on renewable energy (The Guardian). So whilst we know private jets aren’t good for the planet, we also know that just 10-30% of the fossil fuel subsidies would pay for a global transition to clean energy (The Guardian). We also know that renewable energy is one of the most effective tools we have in the fight against climate change.
Yet, when it comes to shaming those who can make a real, tangible difference to our planet – the corporations, the governments, the decision-makers – the haters are silent. They instead choose to focus their attention on those at the forefront of the battle.
But hey – it’s not all bad. The legends at Protect Our Winters have recently launched #FactBack – a tool which helps the public send scientific, factual responses to climate change deniers on Twitter. And not only this, but there’s a host of amazing journalists, musicians and campaigners championing those fighting for our planet, including Lucy Siegle, Naomi Klein and the 1975.
So next time you feel like shaming – let’s show some love to the campaigners and focus your anger on those who have the future of our planet in their hands.
It’s time to stop the shame. #ActNow