I’m not sure whether to be impressed or ashamed of the human race.
There’s been a lot of speculation as to who is going to be TIME’s venerated Person of the Year label, and while there were quite a few options, there was really only one person it could possibly be.
TIME decided to go with the underage environmental activist Great Thunberg. According to the TIME Editor-in-Chief Edward Felsenthal, the choice was easy to make since we’re all going to die soon and Thunberg was the one who rallied people around the globe to take the concern for environmental disaster to a new level.
This came complete with Felsenthal pushing the message himself:
Thunberg stands on the shoulders—and at the side—of hundreds of thousands of others who’ve been blockading the streets and settling the science, many of them since before she was born. She is also the first to note that her privileged background makes her “one of the lucky ones,” as she puts it, in a crisis that disproportionately affects poor and indigenous communities. But this was the year the climate crisis went from behind the curtain to center stage, from ambient political noise to squarely on the world’s agenda, and no one did more to make that happen than Thunberg.
It is not a moment too soon: emissions would need to start falling next year by 7.6% annually and continue at that rate for a decade in order for the world to have any chance of hitting the widely accepted targets for stopping global warming. Thunberg’s wake-up call is a necessary jolt. It is up to us all to meet it with solutions.
The question is, does she deserve it?
Like most TIMEs persons of the year, the answer is a resounding “no.”
For one, Thunberg may be the frontman of a very annoying band, but she’s definitely not the songwriter. The poor, underage, mentally ill girl is a very shiny gear in a very high-polluting machine. The luxury yacht that she used to sail across the ocean in her “zero carbon emission” trip was made from petroleum products. Once her trip to America was done, she had to wait for a crew to be flown in from Europe to sail her boat back.
And what did she accomplish during her trip to America?
Nothing, really. She convinced some students to leave school for a bit in order to “protest” environmental abuse and for all the trouble, emissions still rose 4 percent, and she contributed to it, as did the rest of the virtue-signaling politicians and activists who hopped on jets and cars to go to locations to talk about this stuff.
Thunberg’s first mistake was heading in the wrong direction when she set out to stare down those nasty polluting people face to face. America is a wonderous eco-friendly country compared to China and India according to The Diplomat:
The study reveals that air pollution has caused over 4.2 million early deaths across the globe in 2015, out of which India and China alone accounted for 25.7 percent and 26.1 percent respectively. HEI focuses on two measures of outdoor air pollution in their Global Burden of Disease Project: ambient fine particulate matter (airborne particles less than or equal to 2.5 micrometers in diameter, or PM2.5) and ozone, a reactive gas. These are the most widely studied and monitored air pollutants worldwide, with PM2.5 responsible for the vast majority of early deaths (4.2 million, compared to 254,000 attributed to ozone).
I guess Thunberg, in all her eco expertise and bravery, hasn’t heard about this yet. Or if she has, has zero desire to go to places to begin protests where she may actually face consequences for doing so.
But what do you expect from a sham but a show?
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