Click through to read the whole interview from David Marchese. Here’s an excerpt:
Greta Thunberg has become so firmly entrenched as an icon — perhaps the icon — of ecological activism that it’s hard to believe it has been only two years since she first went on school strike to draw attention to the climate crisis. In that short time, Thunberg, a 17-year-old Swede, has become a figure of international standing, able to meet with sympathetic world leaders and rattle the unsympathetic. Her compelling clarity about the scale of the crisis and moral indignation at the inadequate political response have been hugely influential in shifting public opinion. An estimated four million people participated in the September 2019 global climate strikes that she helped inspire. “There’s this false image that I’m an angry, depressed teenager,” says Thunberg, whose rapid rise is the subject of “I Am Greta,” a new documentary on Hulu. “But why would I be depressed when I’m trying to do my best to change things?”
What do you see as the stakes for the U.S. presidential election? Is it a make-or-break ecological choice? We can’t predict what will happen. Maybe if Trump wins that will be the spark that makes people angry enough to start protesting and really demanding things for the climate crisis. I think we can safely say that if Trump wins it would threaten many things. But I’m not saying that Joe Biden is good or his policies are close to being enough. They are not…
I definitely understand that on some level it’s ridiculous to ask a 17-year-old about complicated geopolitical problems, but by the same token, you’re not 10 and you are a leader. Is there an age at which you would consider it reasonable for people to expect that you have ideas about solutions? Right now, I spend I don’t know how much of my time reading and trying to learn, but that doesn’t mean I’m an expert. So I choose to hand over that debate to those who know more than I do. I know maybe more about communicating, so that’s what I’m going to stick to, where I can be most helpful. The mainstream communication strategy for the last decades has been positivity and spreading inspiration to motivate people to act. Like: “Things are bad, but we can change. Just switch your light bulb.” You always had to be positive, even though it was false hope. We still need to communicate the positive things, but above that we need to communicate reality. In order to be able to change things we need to understand where we are at. We can’t spread false hope. That’s practically not a very wise thing to do. Also, it’s morally wrong that people are building on false hope. So I’ve tried to communicate the climate crisis as it is.