Greta Thunberg Doesn’t Need To Go Back To School, Jeremy Clarkson Does
Jeremy Clarkson should be able to acknowledge Greta Thunberg is spreading important, relevant and factual messages, but instead he told her to ‘shut up and go back to school’.
The 59-year-old made his comments during an interview on the Australian morning show Sunrise, where he described the young activist as ‘mad and dangerous’.
Check out his interview below:
Imagine, for a minute, you don’t know who either Clarkson or Thunberg are, and I present to you a 59-year-old and a 16-year-old.
One of them has been travelling the world advocating for measures to stop climate change, meeting with world leaders and encouraging activism, while another went out for a drinking session before punching someone in the face because they were angry about food.
With no other information to go off, you’d probably guess the former was a conscientious, intelligent adult, while the latter was an unreasonable, bratty, spoiled youngster.
Add Clarkson and Thunberg back in the equation, and the only parts of these descriptions that aren’t true are their ages.
For some reason, The Grand Tour presenter just loves to ridicule the young activist, as if she’s doing something wrong by raising awareness of the fact our world is in danger. She isn’t the one causing young children sleepless nights – the state of our planet can do that by itself.
She’s only doing the same as David Attenborough, Leonardo DiCaprio and hundreds of other environmental advocates out there, but because she’s 16 years old Clarkson seems to think she can’t possibly know what she’s talking about.
His latest comments are far from the first he’s made about Thunberg; in the past he’s labelled her a ‘spoilt brat’, an ‘idiot‘ and, in an interview with The Independent, ‘a weird Swede with a bad temper’. Again, let me remind you this is coming from someone who started a violent argument over a steak.
Clarkson argues Thunberg is simply making noise about climate change rather than doing anything about it, claiming that a more productive approach to the problem would be to ‘talk to scientists’.
He told The Sun:
Going round saying we’re all going to die, that’s not going to solve anything, my dear.
Now, what I could do is go on strike, borrow a 50ft carbon-fibre yacht with back-up diesel engine, sail to America and shout at President Trump.
I could do that, but it would achieve nothing. So instead, it’s time to talk to scientists.
The thing is, Clarkson is wrong in suggesting Thunberg’s actions have ‘achieved nothing’. In a matter of months, she went from striking alone outside the Swedish parliament building to leading millions of people across the world in marches for climate change.
She got people talking and in turn made the masses realise just how much needs to change in order to save our planet. She’s called out world leaders and earned praise from celebrities and members of the public all over the globe, which has put pressure to act on those who have the ability to make actual positive changes.
Thunberg hasn’t just ‘shouted at Donald Trump’, she’s expressed arguments based on facts and scientific evidence, all the while pointing out how leaders have failed younger generations like her own.
In one Instagram post, for example, she cites information from the WWF and Global Footprint Network explaining that in her home country of Sweden, residents live as if they ‘had about four planets’ and ‘roughly the same goes for the entire Nordic region’.
In Norway for instance, the government recently gave a record number of permits to look for new oil and gas.
The newly opened oil and natural gas-field ‘Johan Sverdrup’ is expected to produce oil and natural gas for 50 years; oil and gas that would generate global CO2 emissions of 1.3 billion tonnes.
The gap between what the science says is needed to limit the increase of global temperature rise to below 1.5 or even 2 degrees – and politics that run the Nordic countries is gigantic. And there are still no signs whatsoever of the changes required.
We belong to the countries that have the possibility to do the most. And yet our countries still basically do nothing.
Sure, Thunberg could follow Clarkson’s suggestion and go back to school, but it’s clear she wouldn’t learn anything about climate change there she doesn’t already know.
In comparison, the 59-year-old didn’t admit global warming even existed until taking a trip to Cambodia for The Grand Tour last month.
He spoke to Sunrise about how the trip opened his eyes to the issue, commenting:
When you see those houses on stilts on the show – 40 to 50 feet – and the water is miles away.
And then you think, ‘The water’s supposed to be up there this time of year and it’s down there’. It’s unbelievable.
Now, if Clarkson had been listening to Thunberg’s warnings he might not have had to travel to Cambodia just to realise that climate change is actually a real thing. It’s clear he’s the one who needs to be educated on it, not the person who’s lived and breathed the issue for what seems to be her whole life.
The presenter admitted his realisation about the environment might result in an ‘I told you so’ kind of reaction from conscientious kids, but he commented anyone who acted that way should ‘go to school… learn science and do something about it’.
However, the fact of the matter is there just isn’t time for Thunberg or other children to go through the motions of becoming scientists and come up with a planet-saving solution to climate change. It’s happening now, and younger generations are going to be the ones suffering as a result of it in the future.
Change needs to begin immediately – there’s no time to waste.
As recently as 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reported to keep the rise in global temperatures below 1.5 degrees this century, carbon dioxide emissions would need to be cut by 45% by 2030. This was quickly followed by Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, founder and director emeritus of the Potsdam Climate Institute, saying the world would be ‘fatally wounded’ by 2020 at current levels of damage to our planet.
In a passionate speech at the United Nations Climate Action Summit earlier this year, Thunberg actually pointed out that, yes, she should be back in school. But that’s not because she doesn’t know enough about what she’s fighting for, as Clarkson suggested, it’s because she shouldn’t be the one having to push for it.
Addressing world leaders, she commented:
I shouldn’t be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to us for hope. How dare you.
You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words.
Considering the speech was given at a climate change summit, it’s safe to say a fair few scientists would have taken note of the 16-year-old’s arguments.
In that sense, Thunberg is already doing what Clarkson suggests, while he sits in interviews proclaiming that ‘it’s time to talk to scientists’ but apparently making no effort to follow his own advice.
Instead, he continues to make a series about cars while Thunberg has been travelling across the Atlantic in a boat to reduce her carbon footprint and attend this year’s UN climate conference.
The unfortunate truth is, if Thunberg was a decade or so older, Clarkson probably wouldn’t have such unreasonable disdain for her. Even if she was delivering the same speeches, the same facts and the same evidence, he’d probably pay more attention because she’d be an adult.
However, as a 16-year-old Thunberg is speaking for the generation who are going to be most affected if changes aren’t made across the globe. She might have missed out on some school and not yet be considered a ‘grown-up’, but it’s clear she’s the voice needed to open people’s eyes and incite those changes.
Meanwhile, at 59 years old, it’s about time Clarkson stopped with the playground insults and started taking his own advice and talking to scientists… or teachers.
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CreditsThe Independent and 2 others