*Note that this is an op-ed that I wrote last month. I want to share some of my previous work before moving on to the more recent stuff
It’s no surprise when a high profile, newsworthy story gets picked up by a studio to be made into a documentary or movie. Well, all the Greta Thunberg fans out there will be thrilled to know that Hulu is in the process of creating a documentary about the 16 year old environmental activist.
It seems as though the Thunberg family’s plan is working. A teenage girl causes a worldwide sensation by theatrically shaming adults for not doing enough to stop climate change, but interestingly enough, does not bring any ideas to the table herself. One Time Magazine cover and a Nobel Peace Prize nomination later, the Thunberg family have already started monetizing off this publicity stunt they have created. A publicity stunt that has unfairly eclipsed the achievements of activists such as Boyan Slat, who is proactively working towards creating technology to clean up plastic in our oceans.
Showering Greta with unnecessary praise for her all talk, no action approach has taken away the recognition that someone such as Scott Presler deserves. Presler volunteered to pick up trash across Baltimore after President Donald Trump referred to the city as a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess”. He even inspired hundreds of other Baltimore residents to join him in making their city cleaner.
It’s likely that liberals are more supportive of Greta than conservatives are, which would explain why the opinions on this subject are so polarized. That being said, it’s time that we put our political differences aside and look at the bigger picture.
Climate change is undeniably the world’s most pressing emergency, and emergencies call for immediate action. Slat and Presler are proactive and are truly making a difference, but don’t feel the need to do so publicly. That’s because they are passionate about cleaning up oceans and cities so that we can take baby steps towards living on a cleaner planet. They’re not in it for fame and money.
Is there still a lot more work to be done? Absolutely, but let’s give Boyan Slat and Scott Presler the credit (and maybe the documentaries) that they have earned.