Socialist Worker

Greta Thunberg’s fight to force action for the climate

A BBC documentary focuses on the climate activist who inspired a movement. But Thunberg insists it’s not all about one person, writes Izzy Smitheman

Issue No. 2749

Greta Thunburg with her ‘school strike for climate’ placard

Greta Thunburg with her ‘school strike for climate’ placard (Pic: BBC Studios/PBS)


Greta Thunberg—a Year to Change the World is a heart wrenching call to action.

The three-part series follows the life of the famous teenage climate activist as she exposes the science behind the brutal nature of climate change.

In 2018 the 15 year old Greta Thunberg began her own “climate strike” outside the Swedish parliament.

She inspired a generation to do the same—to take to the streets across the world and demand action on climate change.

Negotiating a balance between tragedy and science, this documentary presents us with ­harrowing accounts of villages burnt to the ground and glaciers collapsing into the sea.

At the heart of it, Greta Thunberg is a small voice calling for big changes.

But she is forced to endure a media more obsessed with her personal life than the content of what she is saying.

And she’s relentlessly patronised by governments and the rich as she calls out their lies, creative accounting and clever PR

Capitalism’s pursuit of growth puts wealth and profit above all—with little regard for the destruction it is causing.

Capitalism and climate—the system’s recipe for disaster
Capitalism and climate—the system’s recipe for disaster
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Thunberg’s journey highlights this by revealing the urgency of this crisis and begging for large scale change.

The fight against climate change can’t be separated from the fight against capitalism.

Neither can be defeated without collective action to bring this system to its end.

This documentary shows us a brief glimpse of the future we will face if we can’t do that.

In conversations with Thunberg, she says her action is born out of fear and understanding that those in power will not act unless forced to.

She is refusing to leave it to the “adults in the room”—the ­policymakers, politicians and corporations that have failed to act.

The documentary frames Thunberg’s journey as an individual activist.

It is clear that she doesn’t care for optimism—she is desperate and she is ready for change.

But through speeches and conversations, she makes clear that her voice alone is futile unless people begin to act.

Greta Thunberg—a Year to Change the World is on BBC1, Monday 12 April, 9pm and then on BBC iPlayer

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