Greta Thunberg has the longest single intervention in the BBC documentary “Climate Change.. the Facts,” and it has pride of place as the last item, just before Attenborough’s summing up.
For those who don’t read every comment under every article, here’s a summary of what I know about her:
Greta’s mother is an opera singer, and a bloody good one, as you can see here.
She wrote a book about the failure of the Swedish government to a) provide for the special needs of her daughter and b) to prevent incipient climate collapse. Her book came out in August 2018. In October her daughter started her strike for the climate. In December the paperback edition came out with a photo of her daughter on the cover, available in Swedish, Italian and German. A forthcoming follow-up written by mother and daughter together is destined to be translated into English, as well as a number of other languages.
Whether Greta has inherited her mother’s operatic talents I don’t know, but the Attenborough documentary is an interesting variant on the time-honoured music hall formula: it’s not over until the skinny girl has a hissy fit.
Is it fair to attack a sixteen year old for the use made of her image by a soulless media machine bent on nothing but the pursuit of profit? (Oh. It’s the state controlled BBC. So make that: “..a soulless media machine bent on nothing but ingratiating itself with the government of the day.”)
Yes it is. She could have demanded to see the content before allowing her image to be exploited in this way, she who hobnobs with popes and presidents. As the world’s foremost expert on the perils of climate change, to whom even the great Monbiot has sworn eternal allegiance, she would have realised that she was lending her name to a pile of steaming orang utan poo that only an olfactorily challenged nonagenarian could have let pass. She could have said: “No, as a responsible proponent of scientifically based protest against the rape of our planet, I cannot countenance lending my name to the falsification of a graph from IPCC AR5 SPM by an unnamed graphic designer at the BBC Science Unit. Nor will I support the thesis that thousands of dying fruit bats signal the end of the world, given that similar hecatombs were reported in Australia in 1791. And as for the forest fire in Montana ten years ago, the only thing distinguishing it from a million other forest fires in the past few hundred million years is that the victims had a video camera attached to the windscreen of their 4X4.”
Greta could have raised these or any number of other objections to having her name associated with this silly, easily forgettable bit of lightweight propagandist dross. All she had to do was spend a few minutes on the internet ascertaining the facts. But she didn’t. Instead, she let herself be filmed saying:
When I was younger, [!] I had lots of plans of becoming different things, everything from an actor to a scientist. But then my teachers in school told me about climate change. That was sort of an eye opener to me. The more I read about it, the more I understood how dangerous it was for everyone. I stopped going to school…
… It happened so fast. It is amazing that tens of thousands of children all around the world have done the same thing as I did… saying “why should we go to school, if there’s no future?”And “why should we learn facts when the most important facts don’t matter?”
I’ve read the transcript of the programme available here several times, yet I missed that one, the one where the person who gets star billing in a programme entitled “..The Facts” says “why should we learn facts when the most important facts don’t matter?”
And then gets invited to harangue parliamentarians, who vote a motion about the “climate emergency” based on “the facts” presented by someonewho believes that facts (and going to school to learn them) “don’t matter.”
And then Attenborough sums up the programme with:
There’s a message for all of us in the voices of these young people. It is after all their generation who will inherit this dangerous legacy…
Well that’s a fact. Or is it? I don’t know. Do you? Does anyone? And what does it matter anyway, since facts don’t matter? Why did Attenborough say that? What am I writing this for? Why are you reading it? Are we all mad?