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We Stand With Thunberg

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Fellow activist and environmentalist Greta Thunberg participated in a live CNN Townhall dealing with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. While we welcome the participation of the young activist her participation sparked outrage on social media.

Thunberg participated in a panel featuring Dr Sanjay Gupta, former U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and former CDC director Prichard Besser under the title “Coronavirus Facts and Fears” hosted by CNN anchor Anderson Cooper and Dr. Gupta.

The outrage directed at Greta largely aimed to discredit her and attacked her for not being an “expert” in public health or disease control. This response is a blatant attempt at silencing a young, female activist who never claimed to be an expert but rather urged people to listen to scientists and experts – encouragements that also have underpinned her campaign against climate change.

There is in our view little doubt these attacks largely are fuelled by the sheer hatred many young and female activists face on a daily basis. The attempts at discrediting Thunberg comes seemingly from a place of fear of those who dare to stand up, speak up, and change the status quo of the patriarchal and conservative mindset. This is something that affects, and unites us all as we struggle for a better future.

Further, the attacks on Thunberg comes from the very same individuals who have attempted to discredit her in the past, people who repeatedly have shown complete disregard for experts in the past, and surely will continue to selectively attack and ignore the people and advice they disagree with in the future.

We stand firmly with Greta and support her message encouraging people to listen to scientists and experts both in response to COVID-19 and in the fight for a sustainable environment. Greta as a young activist has an important voice in this, representing an underrepresented and generation, an often discredited gender, and the broader field of activism. We have demanded a proverbial seat at the table for years, and will continue fighting to be heard, against these petty attacks and attempts at silencing.

  • Bjørn Ihler is the founding Editor in Chief of Activism Academy and co-founder of The Khalifa-Ihler Institute, the organization behind the academy. Ihler has a long track record as a contributor to multiple international publications and is a well renowned activist working among others with the Kofi Annan Foundation to counter violent extremism.

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