Greta Thunberg's Fateful Midnight Hour

Why has the iconic environmental activist fallen off the radar?

Many might still remember Greta Thunberg, the dainty native of Stockholm who was instrumental in pushing the topic of climate change out of the academic and political realm traditionally reserved for adults and turning it into an ultra-fashionable global trend so popular among the planet's youths. Some went as far as to refer to her as an eco-Valkyrie, although her appearance might probably call for a more apt comparison with an eco-elf.

At the age of 15, having won a contest of articles on climate challenges, this distinctive Swedish high-school student with the Asperger's syndrome and a slew of other mental and psychological conditions decided to stop attending school and started a solo School Strike for Climate right outside Riksdag, Sweden's parliament.

Greta staged a very clever and successful social media campaign to promote her protest that helped draw crowds of like-minded fellow students who were finally able to home in on a noble and politically correct cause that would work as a perfect excuse to play hooky. Thunberg's idea was very well received by younger people, and she instantly became a global megastar.

"Fridays for Future" was the title Greta's followers chose to identify their group walkouts that quickly grew into a global youth climate movement.

These protests radiated a particularly spooky vibe when held on Friday the 13th when one could put on a hockey goalie mask and pick up a machete, the infamous tools of the trade of Jason Voorhees, the sinister and hard-to-kill antagonist from the eponymous horror film series. To use a disquieting analogy, as someone who had been allowed to drown through neglect of an irresponsible camp counsellor, Voorhees might also be referred to as a radical environmentalist for protecting his Crystal Lake and the surrounding woods from the adults destroying the nature and harming the climate.

For several years, Greta and her "Fridays" friends had been keeping the planet's world of politics in turmoil. Thunberg had been invited to meetings with presidents and prime ministers. She orated from the podium of the United Nations, causing no less of a commotion there than Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev did back in his time with his now legendary shoe-banging incident. She became the star of the European Parliament, the World Economic (!) Forum, and many other congresses, international conferences and rallies gathering millions of participants on both sides of the Atlantic.

When Pope Francis was receiving Greta in the Vatican, he treated her with such admiration and religious fervour that it looked like he had just seen the Virgin Mary herself. Whereas the now-aged former Terminator star Arnold Schwarzenegger who also had a meeting with the wonder-girl from Sweden appeared to have confused her for the young Sarah Connor in need of his protection for preserving the bright future for all mankind.

This whole eco-climate sideshow went on touring the world right until the moment when a completely new and unforeseen actor, the COVID-19 pandemic, burst onto the global scene. The pandemic wrought havoc for many, including Greta Thunberg's Friday movement. The place of Fridays was taken by a protracted global weekend, albeit not as fun or unrestrained, causing Greta's and her supporters' activism to subside naturally, staying mainly confined to the worldwide web.

On top of that, Greta's followers from poorer nations complained that the movement reflected the views, served the interests of mainly rich white folks, and couldn't care less about people of colour. Greta and most of her relatively well-to-do associates were unprepared for real clashes with the police, reprisals from the authorities, or facing arrests for their activism.

Having reached the age of 19, the ex-climate star Greta Thunberg stepped out of the limelight and withdrew into the shadows. No one seems to know where she is now and what is going on with her. And, frankly, no one seems to care. Today's information scene doesn't condone breaks and interruptions. Either you keep riding the wave or sink straight to the bottom and get mired down …

The very last time Greta made headlines was shortly after the start of Russia's military operation in Ukraine. As one would expect, she spoke out in support of Kyiv's oligarchic puppet regime.

It couldn't have been any other way. While Greta could say whatever the hell she felt about climate, she appears to be much more circumspect when it comes to politics, clearly reluctant to stand out from the bland PC crowd. In other words, as Thunberg once said, it's all blah, blah, blah…

All of this is eerily reminiscent of the fairytale of Cinderella, where her magic carriage turns into a pumpkin after the clock strikes midnight. With only one tiny caveat: Greta Thunberg is no Cinderella. Just as in Cinderella's carriage in the tale, Greta herself seems to have turned into a pumpkin at midnight. Her time is over.

It is just that there had been a lot of riding on this "Greta carriage" for many support characters. But, after all, the carriage had been driven by seasoned and pragmatic people who got what they wanted and played their game. And as for Greta, who has by now turned into the proverbial pumpkin, she has no further role to play other than perform on Halloween, perhaps. Sic transit gloria mundi…

And now, more on consequences. Although many Western leaders prefer to blame Russia for the social and economic troubles their countries are facing, signs of an impending energy crisis and food shortages in the well-off countries of the West began to manifest themselves even before the breakout of the COVID-19 pandemic and certainly long before the start of Russia's special operation in Ukraine. Such accusations are just another example of empty talk. However, eco-extremism has long been at work eroding and devastating Western economies, damaging their manufacturing industries, commodities infrastructures, and agriculture. In a sense, the girl from Sweden, too, has to bear her share of responsibility for all these hardships and challenges.

This, however, should not be taken as a reason to feel sad and despair as other young women are beginning to emerge on the political scene: beautiful, intelligent, and with a proper perspective. Take Isabella Nilsson Jarvandi, for example. Whether through coincidence or serendipity, she also happens to be a Swedish national and a resident of Stockholm, just like Greta Thunberg, although she was born in Gothenburg. They are even of the same age. But unlike Greta, Isabella is a right-leaning activist who stands up for healthy conservative values and is vocal against expanding immigration and rising ethnic crime in Sweden and other European countries.

Jarvandi, a blogger, a participant in the yellow vests protests, and a traditionalist, was born to an Iranian father and a Swedish mother. So, she can hardly be accused of "racial partiality" or "nationalistic bigotry" as some leftists and liberals would have preferred to do. It's just that Jarvandi has a mind of her own, and she uses it for its intended purpose. That's why Isabella's supporters call her the Anti-Greta.

Never mind that the young lady is still much less famous than her eccentric compatriot. What matters is that Isabella Nilsson Jarvandi's vision is centred on a realistic future. And this future is what is really worth fighting for!

Text on image: «School strike for climate».

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