Young Climate Change Activist Roughing Negative Press

There’s been a lot of controversy over Greta Thunberg’s recent sailing across the Atlantic to New York. She’s due to attend the UN Climate Action Summit later in September.

The 16 year old, who has greater courage of convictions than most adults refuses to fly. Yet she has been lambasted for the ramifications of carbon neutral sailing on her choice of transport, which is a technological prototype boat. The solar powered yacht with underwater turbines generates its own power. However, there was a problem in that the prototype needed four suitably experienced crew to be flown from Europe to the US to sail it back. An own goal, you could say, opening her up to criticism by naysayers.

It’s not Just Black and White, Greta

As with all captivating, complex debates in our VUCA world, in my mind things are not as black and white as in Greta’s.  Her critics say she is naive and being manipulated. Yes, Greta is a young person and I hope her parents are ensuring she continues with her education because when she is no longer the ‘poster girl’ for environment (… is David Attenborough the ‘poster boy’?…), she will still have to support herself in the future. A person can be young and take a stance – isn’t that wonderful? Look at Malala Yousafzai who was shot at the age of 14 for standing up for girls’ education. She is now studying PPE at Oxford. I wonder if Greta will get a Nobel Prize too.

Greta Thunberg and the Climate Crisis

What Greta is doing is phenomenal. Aspergers or not, naive or not, manipulated or not, she has captivated the attention of global leaders and ‘ordinary’ people, raising awareness of the urgency of the Climate Crisis and hopefully, is pushing the agenda forward.

Yes, I also read that a crew needed to be flown out to sail the vessel back. The technology is newly developed, there is currently only one unit, and the voyage was also a trial. None of this is Greta’s fault. Imagine the furore if she had flown!

It’s good to debate and stay grounded whilst sharing conflicting opinions. But let’s not lose site of the bigger picture here.

The Take Home Message

Ask yourself what’s the take home message here? Is it that we’re all hypocrites? I read once that hypocrisy is the gap between your aspiration and reality, which couldn’t be more apt here. Or is the message that if a young person like Greta, with all her challenges – or advantages, depending how you view them – can strive to create a more sustainable life style, should we be asking ourselves ‘What can I do?’

In her words ‘Let’s do it now.’

Doing it now with Coral Mountain

It’s time to stop debating the side issue of Greta Thunberg’s exploits and get down to the real issues; Climate Change, Resource Scarcity and our Vulnerable Future. If we step up, as individuals, businesses and governing bodies, this iconic teenager can leave the spotlight and return to her education.

You may be feeling ‘Let’s do it now’, but not sure where to start or what to prioritise. Drop me a line at and set up your no obligation initial chat about reducing environmental impact in your workplace.

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