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The Uncanny Power of Greta Thunberg’s Climate-Change Rhetoric | The New Yorker
"During the week of Easter, Britain enjoyed—if that is the right word—a break from the intricate torment of Brexit. The country’s politicians disappeared on vacation and, in their absence, genuine public problems, the kinds of things that should be occupying their attention, rushed into view. In Northern Ireland, where political violence is worsening sharply, a twenty-nine-year-old journalist and L.G.B.T. campaigner named Lyra McKee was shot and killed while reporting on a riot in Londonderry. In London, thousands of climate-change protesters blocked Waterloo Bridge, over the River Thames, and Oxford Circus, in the West End, affixing themselves to the undersides of trucks and to a pink boat named for Berta Cáceres, an environmental activist and indigenous leader, who was murdered in Honduras. Slightly more than a thousand Extinction Rebellion activists, between the ages of nineteen and seventy-four, were arrested in eight days. On Easter Monday, a crowd performed a mass die-in at the Natural History Museum, under the skeleton of a blue whale. In a country whose politics have been entirely consumed by the maddening minutiae of leaving the European Union, it was cathartic to see citizens demanding action for a greater cause. In a video message, Christiana Figueres, the former executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, compared the civil disobedience in London to the civil-rights movement of the sixties and the suffragettes of a century ago. “It is not the first time in history we have seen angry people take to the streets when the injustice has been great enough,” she said.

On Tuesday, as members of Parliament returned to work, Greta Thunberg, the sixteen-year-old Swedish environmental activist, was in Westminster to address them. Last August, Thunberg stopped attending school in Stockholm and began a protest outside the Swedish Parliament to draw political attention to climate change. Since then, Thunberg’s tactic of going on strike from school—inspired by the response to the Parkland shooting in Florida last year—has been taken up by children in a hundred countries around the world. In deference to her international celebrity, Thunberg was given a nauseatingly polite welcome in England. John Bercow, the speaker of the House of Commons, briefly held up proceedings to mark her arrival in the viewing gallery. Some M.P.s applauded, breaching the custom of not clapping in the chamber. When Thunberg spoke to a meeting of some hundred and fifty journalists, activists, and political staffers, in Portcullis House, where M.P.s have their offices, she was flanked by Ed Miliband, the former Labour Party leader; Michael Gove, the Environment Secretary and a prominent Brexiteer; and Caroline Lucas, Britain’s sole Green Party M.P., who had invited her.

Thunberg, who wore purple jeans, blue sneakers, and a pale plaid shirt, did not seem remotely fazed. Carefully unsmiling, she checked that her microphone was on. “Can you hear me?” she asked. “Around the year 2030, ten years, two hundred and fifty-two days, and ten hours away from now, we will be in a position where we set off an irreversible chain reaction beyond human control that will most likely lead to the end of our civilization as we know it.”

Thunberg—along with her younger sister—has been given a diagnosis of autism and A.D.H.D. In interviews, she sometimes ascribes her unusual focus, and her absolute intolerance of adult bullshit on the subject of climate change, to her neurological condition. “I see the world a bit different, from another perspective,” she told my colleague Masha Gessen. In 2015, the year Thunberg turned twelve, she gave up flying. She travelled to London by train, which took two days. Her voice, which is young and Scandinavian, has a discordant, analytical clarity. Since 2006, when David Cameron, as a reforming Conservative Party-leadership contender, visited the Arctic Circle, Britain’s political establishment has congratulated itself on its commitment to combatting climate change. Thunberg challenged this record, pointing out that, while the United Kingdom’s carbon-dioxide emissions have fallen by thirty-seven per cent since 1990, this figure does not include the effects of aviation, shipping, or trade. “If these numbers are included, the reduction is around ten per cent since 1990—or an average of 0.4 per cent a year,” she said. She described Britain’s eagerness to frack for shale gas, to expand its airports, and to search for dwindling oil and gas reserves in the North Sea as absurd. “You don’t listen to the science because you are only interested in solutions that will enable you to carry on like before,” she said. “Like now. And those answers don’t exist anymore. Because you did not act in time.”

The climate-change movement feels powerful today because it is politicians—not the people gluing themselves to trucks—who seem deluded about reality. Thunberg says that all she wants is for adults to behave like adults, and to act on the terrifying information that is all around us. But the impact of her message does not come only from her regard for the facts. Thunberg is an uncanny, gifted orator. Last week, the day after the fire at Notre-Dame, she told the European Parliament that “cathedral thinking” would be necessary to confront climate change.

Yesterday, Thunberg repeated the phrase. “Avoiding climate breakdown will require cathedral thinking,” she said. “We must lay the foundation while we may not know exactly how to build the ceiling.” In Westminster, Thunberg’s words were shaming. Brexit is pretty much the opposite of cathedral thinking. It is a process in which a formerly great country is tearing itself apart over the best way to belittle itself. No one knew what to say to Thunberg, or how to respond to her exhortations. Her microphone check was another rhetorical device. “Did you hear what I just said?” she asked, in the middle of her speech. The room bellowed, “Yes!” “Is my English O.K.?” The audience laughed. Thunberg’s face flickered, but she did not smile. “Because I’m beginning to wonder.”"
gretathunberg  2019  rhetoric  climatechange  sustainability  globalwarming  activism  samknight  autism  aspergers  adhd  attention  focus  emissions  action  teens  youth  brexit 
april 2019 by robertogreco
Great Big Story: The Teenager Schooling World Leaders on Climate Change
[video]

"For hundreds of thousands of young people, Greta Thunberg is an icon. At only 16, she’s proving you don’t have to be an adult to make a world of a difference. Today, the Nobel Peace Prize nominee is among the most influential voices speaking out about Earth’s dire climate crisis.

The teen first learned about the devastating, lasting impact of climate change when she was just 11 years old. Dismayed by adults’ unwillingness to respond, she decided to take action herself. She began by making small changes in her own life—cutting meat and dairy from her diet and convincing her parents to also live more sustainably.

Frustrated by the lack of attention from policymakers, Greta held a strike in August 2018, missing class to sit in protest in front of the Swedish Parliament with a sign that read “Skolstrejk för Klimatet” (“School Strike for the Climate”). She vowed to hold strikes every Friday until Sweden was in alignment with the Paris Agreement.

People in Sweden (and now, the world over) began to take notice of Greta’s stance. After a viral TED Talk where she explained her call to action, others began to join in her protests. Today, #FridaysforFuture has grown to be a global phenomenon, with hundreds of thousands of young people from over 125 countries standing alongside Greta.

In addition to her Nobel Peace Prize nomination, Greta’s actions have earned her speaking engagements at the World Economic Forum and COP24—but most importantly, they’ve ignited a new generation to create change and stand up for the future.

Greta says she owes her dogged determination in part to being on the spectrum: “I think if I wouldn’t have had Asperger’s I don’t think I would have started the school strike, I don’t think I would’ve cared about the climate at all… That allowed me to focus on one thing for a very long time.”

Her #FridaysforFuture protest on March 15, 2019 drew 1.6 million strikers, from 2,000 locations, across all seven continents. She wants world leaders to know that change is coming, whether they like it or not.

This is the fourth story in our series, “The Brave,” all about the incredible people protecting our Great Big Planet."
gretathinberg  climatechange  globalwarming  2019  sustainability  activism  teens  youth  autism  sweden  aspergers  generations  ancestors  change 
april 2019 by robertogreco
School strike for climate - save the world by changing the rules | Greta Thunberg | TEDxStockholm - YouTube
"Greta Thunberg realized at a young age the lapse in what several climate experts were saying and in the actions that were being taken in society. The difference was so drastic in her opinion that she decided to take matters into her own hands. Greta is a 15-year-old Stockholm native who lives at home with her parents and sister Beata. She’s a 9th grader in Stockholm who enjoys spending her spare time riding Icelandic horses, spending time with her families two dogs, Moses and Roxy. She love animals and has a passion for books and science. At a young age, she became interested in the environment and convinced her family to adopt a sustainable lifestyle. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community."
gretathunberg  climatechange  2018  sustainability  youth  autism  aspergers  sweden  change  globalarming  activism  extinction  massextinction  equity  climatejustice  inequality  infrastructure  interconnected  crisis  flight  action  money  corruption  anthropocene  goodancestors  resistance  science  climatescience  hope  flightshame  flyingshame  flygskam  travel  aviation  carbonemissions  emissions  airlines  climate  airplanes  carbonfootprint 
december 2018 by robertogreco
Dear Teacher: Heartfelt Advice for Teachers from Students - YouTube
"Kids with a formal diagnosis, such as autism, Asperger's, ADHD, learning disabilities, Sensory Processing Disorder, and Central Auditory Processing Disorder -- along those who just need to move while learning--often find it challenging to shine in a traditional classroom. The kids who collaborated to write and star in this "Dear Teacher" video represent such students. So, they wanted to share with educators how their brain works and offer simple ways teachers can help."
children  aspergers  autism  adhd  disability  2015  diversity  learningdifferences  schools  education  teaching  learning  neurodiversity  disabilities 
february 2016 by robertogreco
Festival of Dyslexic Culture — A Celebration of who we are, through what we create
"The vision for the Festival of Dyslexic Culture arose out of the realisation that dyslexia is not simply a set of apparent difficulties, but a cultural difference in how we make meaning, problem solve and create solutions and ideas. We want to articulate and celebrate this cultural identity while raising awareness about how we achieve.

We would not have arrived at this idea without other excellent initiatives such as DysPla, Dyslexic Advantage, and the LSE Disability Identity conference. But we also felt that we could go further in making and celebrating the nature of innovative practice not just in the arts, and among extraordinary individuals, but among us all as creative innovators in every field including learning and academia. In short, we are great learners that are often failed by tests.

The idea of a holistic cultural identity that spans dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, AD(H)D, and Aspergers seems to have caught fire. The organising team for the Festival are working through consensus to stage the Festival and articulate the vision. Already the idea has sparked other supportive dyslexia initiatives across the world. In the spirit of innovation, collaboration and cultural identification we are happy to support them all. Dyslexic people are already at the forefront of changing the world for the better, we hope to enable the world to see us for ourselves, through what we create."
events  dyslexia  identity  culture  dyspraxia  dyscalculia  adhd  aspergers 
november 2014 by robertogreco
Grant McCracken at Interesting New York on Vimeo
"Grant discusses how cultural creatives are creating a world that, as it turns out, is making them suffer from Asperger's syndrome."
howwework  patternrecognition  interruptmoments  noticing  novelty  creativity  cognitiveperil  aspergers  generalists  culturalcreatives  2008  grantmccracken 
july 2012 by robertogreco
Noah Raford » On Glass & Mud: A Critique of (Bad) Corporate Design Fiction
"Sophisticated clients such as Corning and others who commission this work should take note: despite the widespread attention given to videos like this, consumers see right through the special effects and glitzy production to the substance beneath. If there is no real substance beneath, it will come back to haunt you…

That said, we still need more video in futures work and more futures work in product design.  So instead of discouraging the use of video to engage and communicate, designers and futurists working on these projects should consider the follow criteria for making high-quality futures videos that are also profound and thoughtfully reflective of future change.

1. Don’t stare at your navel: …

2. Don’t extrapolate to infinity: …

3. Don't fetishize technology: …

4. Don't ignore what people care about: …

5. Don't dumb it down: …"
komusa  futures  susanvogel  africa  2012  reality  grittiness  futurism  aspergers  video  corning  galss  mud  brucesterling  noahradford  design  timbuktu  mali  designfiction 
march 2012 by robertogreco
What diversity means « Snarkmarket
"…if you’re broke or have less education, your child’s more likely to go undiagnosed/misdiagnosed & be treated as slow or mentally retarded…even if you get the “right” diagnosis, the therapies offered & your ability to take advantage of them will vary wildly depending on your resources. Maybe especially time.

…just as autism stories overwhelmingly focus on children, not adults, they also overwhelmingly focus on the wealthy, not the poor…& the link between autism & poverty is extraordinary once a child becomes an adult — what “independence” means in that context is very different.

This is also to say that while all these additional considerations are important, fuck that shit. Because autism does cut across class, race, gender, sexual identity & physical ability, etc…because of that, it changes what we mean by diversity, what kinds of diversity count, what diversity we ought to care about, & how we think about all of these issues of identity & privilege taken all together."
autism  aspergers  timcarmody  2011  poverty  class  race  diversity  gender  wealth  independence  childhood  parenting  adulthood  privilege  identity  education  diagnosis 
september 2011 by robertogreco
The Thinking Person's Guide to Autism: On the Matter of Empathy [To be applied also with teachers and students, claiming to know them better than they know themselves.]
"unfortunately, too many lay people look to credentials as opposed to experience when it comes to understanding non-normative conditions. Recently, in response to one autistic person’s upset at mainstream theories of impaired autistic empathy, an autism parent said that the experts should know all about it, since they’ve been studying the issue for years. & those of us who have lived it for even longer? If we were talking about the difference btwn a non-Jewish scholar of Judaism & a practicing Jew, most people would say that the practicing Jew would be the expert on Judaism. & yet, autistic people are rarely accorded this level of respect.

A refusal to listen to our experiences & to be sensitive to the real-life consequences of pervasive stereotypes shows a problematic relationship w/ empathy, to put it mildly. In the midst of this lack of true autism awareness, any assertion that autistic people lack empathy is nothing less than a textbook case of pot calling kettle black."
psychology  empathy  autism  aspergers  understanding  credentials  experts  experience  2011  behavior  cognitive  cognitiveempathy  emotionalempathy  expressedempathy  testing  measurement  nonverbal  nonverbalcommunication  stereotypes 
july 2011 by robertogreco
On Alan Curtis’s Century of the Self. This is the first... | varnelis.net
"...BBC documentary on rise of Freudian psychology, public relations, & conceptions of individual over last century. To what extent do psychology & public relations shape the self under network culture? This is crucial to understand. In part, I think the answer can be found in the disorders that afflict a culture. Neuresthenia & hysteria dominated psychology in the late 19th century, giving way to afflictions like psychosis & neurosis, and more recently to bipolar disorder and aspberger’s. This is a thumbnail sketch & I certainly need to elaborate it, but these afflictions could be seen as a map of the unresolved tensions within society. Moreover, popular remedies feedback on society, altering it. Thus, this WSJ article suggesting that Prozac impacted our way of thinking about the economy, exacerbating the bubble.
kazysvarnelis  bbc  thecenturyoftheself  alancurtis  self  psychology  publicrelations  networkculture  neuresthenia  hysteria  prozac  bubbles  psychosis  neurosis  bipolardisorder  aspergers  society  social  economics 
january 2010 by robertogreco
The Science of Success - The Atlantic (December 2009)
"Most of us have genes that make us as hardy as dandelions: able to take root and survive almost anywhere. A few of us, however, are more like the orchid: fragile and fickle, but capable of blooming spectacularly if given greenhouse care. So holds a provocative new theory of genetics, which asserts that the very genes that give us the most trouble as a species, causing behaviors that are self-destructive and antisocial, also underlie humankind’s phenomenal adaptability and evolutionary success. With a bad environment and poor parenting, orchid children can end up depressed, drug-addicted, or in jail—but with the right environment and good parenting, they can grow up to be society’s most creative, successful, and happy people."
education  psychology  science  research  environment  parenting  behavior  relationships  intelligence  evolution  depression  aspergers  genes  nurture  nature  development  networking  success  genetics 
november 2009 by robertogreco
Clay Marzo's Liquid Cure | Outside Online
"Clay Marzo is one of the world's most gifted surfers. Clay Marzo has Asperger's syndrome' a form of high-functioning autism. And it is only when the 20-year-old steps off of dry land and immerses himself in the water that these two statements make perfect, miraculous sense."
surfing  surf  autism  aspergers  success  sports  brain  behavior  psychology  cognitive  cognition 
september 2009 by robertogreco
Autism as Academic Paradigm - ChronicleReview.com
"Autism is often described as a disease or a plague, but when it comes to the American college or university, autism is often a competitive advantage rather than a problem to be solved. One reason American academe is so strong is because it mobilizes the strengths and talents of people on the autistic spectrum so effectively. In spite of some of the harmful rhetoric, the on-the-ground reality is that autistics have been very good for colleges, and colleges have been very good for autistics."
tylercowen  academia  aspergers  autism  psychology  neuroscience  intelligence  education  learning  culture  advantage  neurodiversity 
july 2009 by robertogreco
Rands In Repose: The Nerd Handbook
"At some point, you, the nerd’s companion, were the project...showered with the fire hose of attention...he’ll move on, and, when that happens, you’ll be wondering what happened to all the attention. This handbook might help."
advice  communication  culture  humor  nerds  relationships  psychology  howto  social  society  sociology  technology  programming  productivity  personality  people  introverts  coding  habits  behavior  attitude  aspergers  attention  howwework  t-shapedpeople 
november 2007 by robertogreco
Steve Reich like flypaper for aspies (kottke.org)
"From the letters to the editor in the Sept 24 issue of the New Yorker, a letter from John Yohalem, New York City"
aspergers  writing  music  mind  brain 
september 2007 by robertogreco

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