Conservatives can’t stop getting upset about teen climate activist Greta Thunberg

In the year since Swedish 16-year-old Greta Thunberg began her Fridays for Future school strike for climate change, she has catapulted to super-stardom as the new face confronting the climate crisis.

It’s driving Thunberg’s conservative trolls absolutely bonkers.

She’s been called a “Tide Pod eater,” “an exploited, terrified child with Aspergers,” and antifa because apparently she wore a shirt one time.

On Wednesday, Thunberg reached New York City after a two-week journey across the Atlantic on a wind- and solar-powered yacht. Today, she is among hundreds demonstrating outside United Nations headquarters.

Thunberg’s visit to America has sent her right-wing critics into a trolling frenzy.

On Newstalk, Spiked magazine editor Brendan O’Neill said, “The Cult of Greta Thunberg is becoming more and more creepy. The green movement has turned her into an eco-messiah who has apparently come to save humankind from its sinfulness and stupidity. It is so backward. It has all the trappings of a cult.”

Quoting Australian News Corp columnist Andrew Bolt’s repulsive hit piece about the teen, Avi Yemini, spokesperson for far-right and anti-Islam provocateur Tommy Robinson, said she is “deeply disturbed.”

Many went even further. Some criticisms consist of conspiracy theories—such as the one that she didn’t actually sail the Atlantic (her Instagram is full of photos from the voyage). Others were so inaccurate as to be downright hilarious. But most were just offensive, particularly directed at a child.

Thunberg’s trolls include relatively well-known conservatives.

Climate denier Jim Lakely, spokesman for the free-market Heartland Institute, claims to “feel sorry for her,” and says that she is “being exploited by the adults around her to push the climate delusion while they use her as a human shield to shame anyone who criticizes the alarmist agenda,” the Washington Times reported.

Breitbart London’s James Delingpole called her “a brainwashed child in pig-tails pushing a hard-left, anti-capitalist agenda.”

The attacks seem to roll off the shoulders of the teen Nobel Peace Prize nominee. It probably doesn’t hurt that legions have her back.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres was among those tweeting approvingly of Thunberg, writing, “Welcome to New York, @gretathunberg! The determination and perseverance shown during your journey should embolden all of us taking part in next month’s #ClimateAction Summit. We must deliver on the demands of people around the world and address the global climate crisis.”

If you ask Thunberg, she’d probably say something like when they go low, we go green.

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Claire Goforth

Claire Goforth

Claire Goforth is a Jacksonville, Florida-based journalist covering politics, culture, justice, and unicorns. Her work has appeared in publications ranging from regional alt-weeklies to Al Jazeera.