Documentary Film Review
Starting at age 15, Greta Thunberg has worked tirelessly to stop and reverse the effects of climate change. And, in a way, it is absolutely unacceptable. A mere teenager should not have to keep the future of our planet on her shoulders.
Thunberg started her lonely journey outside the Swedish parliament building, hoping to bring attention to a topic that had plagued her for years. As a child, concern for the environment grew into a sort of panic, plunging her into a depression and a struggle with selective mutism. When she decided to take action instead, she was met with belittling and hostile reactions. Adults passing her on the street expressed their misplaced concern for her education and future, ignoring her attempts to explain that she had no future with climate change wreaking havoc in the world. She was ignored or worse, comforted with lies.
Even as she gained a following, mostly within the student population, leaders around the world smiled with feigned support. As they praised her, they turned around to drill for oil and refrained from taking any sort of useful environmental protection measures. Thunberg set out to give speeches all over Europe, calling out leaders for their ineptitude and telling anyone willing to listen to “panic.” We ran out of time decades ago, and at this point, we have only a few years before the effects of climate change become irreversible. The time to be diplomatic has passed. Thunberg knows this. When her father commented that her words were “harsh,” she simply responded with, “but it’s true.”
She’s right. Our leaders have failed us. Adults have lied to us. They have promised us long lives, bright futures, and a beautiful world. Most of them didn’t lie to us on purpose – of course not. But for every well-intentioned individual, there is someone who attacks her, such as one journalist who claimed that she is a “mentally ill Swedish child who is being exploited by her parents and by the international left.” We still have a long and difficult battle ahead of us persuading people, particularly leaders, to listen to science and take appropriate action.
But even when the world comes on board with reversing climate change, it won’t be easy. As Thunberg says, “It’s basically impossible to live sustainable today.” I must concur. I would love nothing more than to live a completely sustainable life. However, for many people, it is financially and logistically difficult to practice an entirely eco-friendly lifestyle. Electric cars are still substantially more expensive than petrol cars. Entirely refraining from air travel is nearly impossible for many individuals. My grandparents live in Germany, for instance, and it’s unrealistic for me to sail across the ocean when I visit. But that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try; there are measures that we can take.
When it comes down to it, however, what we really need is action from our politicians. For this reason, it’s incredibly important to watch documentaries such as I Am Greta, in order to create informed opinions and urge leaders to take more steps towards protecting our planet. I Am Greta is both a captivating and educational documentary that could encourage more people to join the movement, and do what they can to help the environment.
Perhaps I was wrong to call Thunberg a “mere teenager” at the beginning of this review. She has proven over the past two years that she is more than that. She is an inspiration and a deeply passionate individual. Even so, all she can do is convince us that action is needed. One person can’t change the world, but she can change our mindsets, and that is the first step to real change.
Victoria Ines is a junior at Shenendehowa High School in Clifton Park, NY. She is passionate about working to protect both the environment and endangered species. After high school, she would like to attend a four-year college to study engineering or biology.