Greta Thunberg spars with German train company in Twitter spat nobody saw coming
Returning home from a tour of protests, marches and speeches, the Swedish climate activist traveled as she always does: on public transport and in emissions-free vehicles. However, public transport occasionally brings with it delays and overcrowding, even in uber-efficient Germany, as Thunberg discovered on Saturday.
Tweeting a picture of herself sitting in a passageway beside a mountain of luggage, Thunberg described her ride through Germany as “overcrowded.”
Traveling on overcrowded trains through Germany. And I’m finally on my way home! pic.twitter.com/ssfLCPsR8o— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) December 14, 2019
But then a spokesperson for Deutsche Bahn, Europe’s largest railway operator, stepped in to give his company’s side of the story. “We were pleased that you were on the ICE 74 with us on Saturday, and with 100 percent green electricity,” DB tweeted.
“It would have been even nicer had you acknowledged how well and competently our team treated you in your First Class seat,” the company continued, the sarcasm barely concealed.
Ouch... German Rail responding to Greta tweet: "Thank you for travelling with Deutsche Bahn... It would have been nice had you acknowledged how well and competently our team treated you in your First Class seat." ... 🍿🍿🍿 pic.twitter.com/hVInNJAZ5H— Peter R. Neumann (@PeterRNeumann) December 15, 2019
Thunberg swiftly offered up an explanation. “After Göttingen I got a seat,” she replied. “This is no problem of course and I never said it was. Overcrowded trains is a great sign because it means the demand for train travel is high!”
The unlikely standoff has caused a Twitterstorm, with Greta’s supporters wishing her safe travels and lashing out at DB, while her critics jeered.
who calls himself a climate activist has to live with it like everyone else. There is no bonus for a Greta Thunberg. In addition, she has too much luggage for a climate protector as well as fast food— Karin True (@KarinTrue) December 15, 2019
The railway company stated that Greta traveled in first class. Stop pretending to be a poor, humble laborer, you are just a bored (very smart tbh) MILLIONAIRE. https://t.co/r2KeXAgwFT— Emilio Porcel López (@PorcelEmilio) December 15, 2019
Oh, so Sorry, overcrowded trains are essential to reduce #CO2 Output.😎Double trains, double CO2🙏Go to school, you‘ll learn the easy math 👍— Hoerby 🇩🇪 🇪🇺 (@hmger_hoerby) December 14, 2019
To the average German commuter, overcrowding is likely not seen as a great sign. German commenters chimed in to complain that they too regularly face delays and discomfort. Her photo is an “honest representation of the way they treat their customers,” one tweeted.
I diagree. Overcrowded trains are very common with the @DB_Bahn & sadly that is not a good sign, because most Germans don’t even take the train. Reason: they are often late, get cancelled a lot, a ticket costs too much & they’re often overcrowded. Also no Wifi & broken toilets.— Curious Sissi (@curious_sissi) December 15, 2019
that is typical Deutsche Bahn.„Sorry for traveling with Deutsche Bahn“😂😂— Steffen T. (@steffentei) December 15, 2019
Thunberg is returning to her native Sweden after spending much of 2019 traveling from country to country to lecture adults on climate change. Her carbon-neutral journey across the Atlantic ocean in August (in a multimillion euro racing yacht), her speech before UN leaders in New York the following month, and her protest marches outside the COP25 climate summit in Madrid in recent weeks all captured headlines and earned her Time Magazine’s ‘Person of the Year.’
However, her lack of solutions to the world’s climate woes and her insistence on using apocalyptic and doom-laden imagery in her speeches have earned her the scorn of not just fossil fuel fans, but scientists too, who say her movement hampers realistic debate on the issues.
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