This Greta Thunberg Cult Is All Wrong

It’s not about being angry. It’s about being Sapiens much

Greta Thunberg by New Yorker cartoons

I don’t remember who it was — Chekhov? Dostoevsky?Lermontov? — who described this phenomenon: when a person stands in front of the crowd and tells the truth, the crowd either makes them a hero or a martyr without ever paying attention to what they are actually saying. But they weren’t mistaken.

We’ve seen the speech of Greta Thunberg, the following uproar of fragile masculinities, inspired artists, mental health stigma and angry youth. Then, we’ve seen the world moving on. But

So, the eternal glaciers are melting down and the industrial activity of the human race is contributing to it. We produce such a horrendous amount of one-use, plastic, non-degradable and ultimately useless shit because capitalism. The million-dollar question here is: what do we do now?

I’m regularly baffled by the levels of self-importance that the representatives of the European culture demonstrate on the internet

Because there is no way it can be “we will reject plastic straws and start picking up trash around the beach”. I’m regularly baffled by the levels of self-importance that the representatives of the Western culture demonstrate on the internet — no, your straws don’t matter, and neither do your 3-minute showers and metal bottles. On one side of it, there is, for example, China, producing about a third of plastic waste in the world oceans (guess it’s just the stuff we haven’t bought), and on the other side there’s you with your reusable napkins and “small steps everybody can feel comfortable with”. Just come the f*ck on.

So, again,

Do we force our governments to issue laws that restrict production to the limits of what is necessary? You know, admit that the free market is all fun and games until it exhausts all our resources and screws us all over, and establish a planned economy?

I feel that’s the way the climate change activists are intending, and I’ll suggest revisiting the history of my home country to see why it’s not exactly a viable idea.

Do we reject technological progress and downshift to the simple life of the old times — growing our own food, wearing high-quality clothes made by hand, and live in tight-knit close communities that rid us of the necessity to buy expensive nonsense in order to show off in front of each other?

As a single young woman, I owe it to capitalism, technological progress and economic growth to be able to live on my own, love on my own terms, and get by without the obligations to milk cows at 5am and give birth to the 6 kids of some random dude I’d have to marry.

Black Mirrors of all kinds are now painting the technology as the root of all evil, but this is the thing that gives the bargaining power to individuals: of all imaginable genders, colors, political opinions, sexual orientations and ways of life. I highly doubt that many of us are now ready to give away their individual freedoms for some vague greater good.

Do we start to issue parental licenses in order to reduce the world population? Colonize the Moon? Start a new war to clear up some space?

Because the real issue is that

Because People Always Want Things They Don’t Have — food, shelter, sex, entertainment, prosperity, power, individual freedoms, adoration, knowledge, thrill, security, clarity, curiosity, love, hate, laughter, unstoppable growth. This is our nature. These are the rules of the game: desires are unlimited, resources are numbered, and the human inventiveness keeps trying to find a gap between those two. Even if we discovered that capitalism and consumerism are evil, we can’t simply go back to agrarian societies and slavery. What do we do next?

We all really need to think. We need scientists, philosophers, designers, artists, theologists, biologists, builders, analysts, storytellers. It’s not about new technology processes, we have them. It’s not about new materials, we have them. It’s about designing a new way to live.

’Cause just as one famous comic said, the planet is all right. We are in trouble. The planet has survived eruptions, meteorites and ice periods, for sure it has a way to deal with us. A few short strings of good cataclysms, a couple of hunger wars, and humanity is back at square one — in a hunter-gatherer lifestyle. And yeah, we know that stepping back is always an option. But what is our way forward?

Do we teach everybody to be Buddhists and stop wanting things? Do we expand in the digital space and leave the material world alone? Do we build a universal system of justice to solve all the internal conflicts, or, on the contrary, establish the Hunger Games to reduce our desires that way?

Do we admit that we are not a pinnacle of creation in any way, but just another quirky species of animals and just take it all as it comes? Do we drag those impossibly rich people out of their full-HD castles and invest all we would find in the colonization of the space, just as XX century sci-fi writers always hoped we would? (I know, I know, I let the motherland slip out once again)

Dunno, let’s organize some international thinking event or an Open Innovation contest to finally figure it out.

Think about what is going to happen next.

But please, don’t just sort straws and pretend that your soul will go to the environmentalist Heaven for that. And don’t make icons out of little girls. It’s problematic on so many levels.

Stories from another hemisphere, written under a stripper pen name and in a second language. Because God forbid we make things easier for us.