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23 Sep, 2019 20:58

Thunberg vs Trump: Showdown at UNGA sparks memes & snark

Thunberg vs Trump: Showdown at UNGA sparks memes & snark

Arriving at the UN General Assembly, US President Donald Trump paid no attention to Swedish teen climate activist Greta Thunberg. Caught on camera, her stare sparked a thousand tweets and divided the public.

While Thunberg was giving a fiery speech at the UNGA Climate Action Summit, Trump was speaking at an event about religious freedom. Video from the UN headquarters on East River shows Thunberg scowling as Trump enters the building to speak to reporters, not even registering her presence.

Trump’s critics were quick to make Thunberg their “shero,”describing her stare their new “life goals” and declaring that the 16-year-old climate activist “became president today.” 

“We are all Greta,” another resistance activist proclaimed, sharing a photo of Thunberg scowling at Trump next to a photo of her meeting his predecessor, Barack Obama.

Conservatives who saw the images reacted differently, praising Trump for ignoring Thunberg – as if he did it on purpose – and even meme-ing her scowl to music and song lyrics. 

Trump has nixed dozens of Obama administration environmental regulations, calling them deadly to the economy, much to the outrage of climate activists. A faction among the Democrats has since proposed a “Green New Deal” that would eliminate carbon emissions altogether and reorder the US economy entirely, warning that otherwise the world would end in 12 years.

Thunberg is even more pessimistic. At the current rate, the world will go over the carbon emissions cap in eight and a half years, she warned in her speech on Monday.

"You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words,” she thundered at the world leaders on Monday. “People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!”

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Thunberg’s fiery speech was likewise met with praise or disdain, depending on where one stood in regard to the narrative of manmade climate change. The environmentalist movement is increasingly convinced that humanity is destroying the planet, and has already called for banning the production and consumption of meat, outlawing fossil fuels, and shuttering down nuclear power plants, despite the cost and burden on people that may produce.

Later on Monday, the president did finally notice the young activist. In an apparent jab at Thunberg, he tweeted she looked like a “very happy girl,” alongside a clip of her 'angry' address before the UN.

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