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When 'social activism' becomes 'bla, bla, bla': a critique of Greta Thunberg's oxymoron. Coming soon

Updated: Nov 19, 2021


During many of her recent ubiquitous media interviews prior to and during the COP 26 conference, Greta Thunberg repeatedly refused to offer solutions to a rapidly warming planet. Indeed, instead she catergorically stated that it is not the role of 'social activists' such as she to proffer solutions to climate change; according to Thunberg, it is the responsibility of the 'bla, bla, bla' politicians she criticises for empty words, accompanied by inaction: the term 'social activist' thus becomes passive; a contradiction in terms if ever there was one, as well of course as the paradox presented in Thunberg's argument: that politicians do have the answers after all.

Insulation from reality

Recent protests in the UK by 'Insulate Britain', however unnecessarily disruptive, and arguably, futile, at least present a coherent strategy: block the M25 and other arterial routes to raise awareness and force the government into addressing at the same time; fuel poverty, and climate change. Thus (and without being unnecessarily uncharitable) there is method in their madness: quite simply, this is social activism in action (please excuse the tautology of which Greta is seemingly unaware). There is a cause which they argue requires immediately action and they present the solution to this: Insulate British homes, save fuel, save the planet from the greenhouse effect; and prevent the poorest choosing between food and fuel.

The Phase Downed Philosophy of activism: and coals to Newcastle

Of course we are being not only unfair, but inaccurate when criticising Thunberg's stance on activism. Of course she argues that the burning of fossil fuels must end. But how to do this, and are we all operating on a false assumption about the planet's resources and what we as human beings should and shouldn't do with them? In other words is the exploitation of the earth wrong and, are we actually part of nature, other animal species as Green Marxists argue in the same vein as the perspective of posthumanism does.

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