Stop Saying ‘Apocalypse Guru’ Like It’s a Bad Thing

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg takes part in the school strike demonstration Fridays for future in Berlin, Germany, July 19, 2019.
Photo: Paul Zinken (dpa via AP)

Adults tend to be very threatened by 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, who has led students around the world on massive school strikes for environmental policy change. In a speech on Tuesday to French lawmakers, Thunberg addressed the far-right politicians who boycotted her speech and crowned her an “apocalypse guru.”

“Some people have chosen not to come here today, some have chosen not to listen to us,” she said to France’s lower house of parliament. “And that is fine. We are, after all, just children.”

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“We become the bad guys who have to tell people these uncomfortable things because no one else wants to, or dares to,” she said.

Republican French National Assembly member Guillaume Larrivé urged a boycott of Thunberg’s speech, tweeting: “nous n’avons pas besoin de gourous apocalyptiques,” or “we don’t need apocalypse gurus.”

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Other politicians have joined in to hurl quite… French insults at the teen. Far-right French National Assembly member Sébastien Chenu said that he would “not be forced to kneel down” before Thunberg, according to the Agence France-Presse. He then called her “the Justin Bieber of ecology.”

“Don’t count on me to applaud a prophetess in shorts, a Nobel Prize for Fear,” said Republican French National Assembly member Julien Aubert, according to the AFP.

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“My problem with Ms. Thunberg is that she refuses to go to school,” Larrivé said on French television program La Matinale.

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For the record, it’s not just European grown-ups who don’t like Thunberg. CNN recently accused Thunberg of “scolding” E.U. leaders. The New York Times editorial board also accused her of “scolding” and fretted that “her brief address” at Davos this year “lacked the usual niceties.”

“You don’t have to listen to us,” Thunberg said in her speech on Tuesday, “but you do have to listen to the science.”

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“And just for quoting or acting on these numbers, these scientific facts, we receive unimaginable amounts of hate and threats. We are being mocked and lied about by members of parliament and journalists,” she said.

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