OPINION / VIEWPOINT
Thunberg's environmental commitment questioned with her silence on Japan's dumping radioactive water
Published: Apr 19, 2021 10:43 PM
Thunberg Photo: VCG

Greta Thunberg Photo: VCG

The Japanese government on April 13 announced that it would dump contaminated water from Fukushima nuclear power plant into the sea. It is believed that this action will trigger irreversible damage to the global marine environment. 

Many environmental groups and many from the public of the international community have voiced firm opposition to the Japanese decision. But some Western institutes and individuals who claim to advocate environmental protection have been silent toward Japan's move. Among them is Greta Thunberg, a Swedish teenager who skipped school for so-called climate protests. She is portrayed as an environmental activist by Western media outlets.

In 2019, Thunberg famously delivered an address at a United Nations summit. She and her line "How dare you" to denounce world leaders for failing to tackle climate change made a hit on social media platforms. She has since then been touted by Western mainstream media and some politicians. She even got attention from then US president Trump. 

But in regard to Japan's decision on dumping nuclear-contaminated water, Thunberg just retweeted a post of Greenpeace and a piece of news by Aljazeera, but no comments at all. Netizens have raised doubts toward it. One of them left a message to her: "Greta, is that all? For one huge catastrophic environmental disaster you only retweet that news? Where's your 'How dare you! '"

According to media reports, Russian President Vladimir Putin in October 2019 indicated that he believes Thunberg may have been manipulated to serve outside interests. He said, "It's deplorable when someone is using children and teenagers in their interests."

Putin's skepticism is not groundless. Thunberg's rhetoric and practices suggest she may not be a pure environmentalist. For example, in October 2020, she showed support for Joe Biden in the US presidential election. Thunberg has even joined the international list of campaigners and politicians demanding the release of 12 Hong Kong fugitives that were detained in the Chinese mainland in the aftermath of being arrested at sea while fleeing to Taiwan island. 

She is scheduled to testify before US Congress at an Earth Day hearing this Thursday. She once said in a tweet that she never engages in party politics. But is this really the case?

Her fame and honor are promoted by Western politicians and mainstream media outlets. These Western politicians and media outlets tend to be silent when Japan is about to dump nuclear-contaminated water into the sea. If she lashed out at Japan's move, it will not be consistent with Western mainstream political posture. Therefore, to cater to them, Thunberg has remained silent in a bid to protect her own interests.

Judging from her indulgent manner toward Japan's decision on dumping radioactive water, Thunberg and her team don't really care about the environment. They just exploit the "card" of environment protection for political gains. She is only a chess piece for Western politicians and media outlets. Instead of being a true environmentalist, she is actually an accomplice of destroying the global ecology.

The author is a reporter of the Global Times. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn


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