Greta Thunberg—the renowned climate activist, a devoted vegan, and possibly the only teenage girl driving grown men to rant and rave like children across media outlets—is now the star of her own documentary, I Am Greta.
The film follows Greta from her lonely start protesting outside Parliament in her native country of Sweden to her speeches inspiring millions to hold strikes for climate change around the globe. While the documentary focuses on the climate crisis as a whole, there are plenty of gems that really resonate with us in the animal liberation movement. After all, it’s impossible to eat animals and also claim to take climate change seriously.
Which brings us to the first reality check of the film:
“Adults always say one thing and then do something completely different.”
Greta’s words ring devastatingly true. It reminds us of times when folks have spouted love for animals while chowing down on flesh for dinner.
Greta isn’t a person who says one thing but does another. Her ethics shine throughout the film, most notably when she takes a small boat across the tumultuous Atlantic Ocean—instead of flying—to the 2019 Climate Action Summit in New York City.
During her appearance at the 2018 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Katowice, Poland, she scoffed that the only vegan options offered were rice and bulgur, while hamburger stations ran out of food. As Greta discusses in the documentary, we’re also disgusted that the top minds working on climate change would actually eat meat and dairy at events focused on saving the planet.
“[Y]ou all come to us young people for hope. How dare you.”
It’s such a cliché to place the burden of change on upcoming generations. In the face of the greatest human challenge in history, adults are forcing young people to be the ones to save civilization as we know it from a complete climate apocalypse.
But adults are the ones in charge. It’s parents who buy groceries, shop for clothing for their kids, and choose whether or not to patronize businesses that exploit animals for entertainment. They should be teaching personal responsibility by showing it.
Every time someone buys animal flesh, steals eggs from chickens, takes fish from collapsing ecosystems or filthy aquafarms, or drinks milk stolen from a mother, they further the destruction of this planet.
We can all do better by children by living vegan—right here, right now.
“Once the climate crisis has gotten your attention, you can’t look away. Once you fully understand the magnitude of the problem, then you can’t erase it.”
Like many others, Greta lived in absolute privilege—consuming tons of meat, buying lots of things, and flying all over the world. But once she learned how these choices increase our carbon footprint, she made changes. She stopped flying, stopped eating meat and dairy, and stopped buying new things.
This is why informing the masses about animal exploitation is so vital. When people finally witness video footage of farmers bludgeoning cows with sledgehammers, throwing live baby chicks into grinders, or chopping off the tails of screaming sheep, they have only two options: change their lifestyle to benefit animals (and the planet) or admit that they don’t care about these sentient beings. But they can never again claim ignorance.
“I have to get emotional once, it’s only reasonable.”
When asked what made her cry during her speech given to the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, Greta replied that it was talking about animals going extinct.
Family, we know this work gets hard. It’s maddening to witness animals suffering every single day because of speciesism. It’s disheartening to experience a global pandemic caused by eating animals. It’s soul-crushing to see forest fires catalyzed by the greedy meat industry destroy ecosystems and decimate wildlife populations.
To every activist out there, it’s OK to cry, take a moment for yourself, or ask for help. Burnout is real. We must take care of ourselves to continue this fight.
“We will be a pain in the ass, we will keep on striking until they do something.”
Cheers to that, Greta. For 40 years, PETA has been a proud disruptor of human speciesism around the globe. Our haters should know by now that we’ll never give up until every cage is empty and all animals are free from exploitation. And if our track record is any indication, the end of rampant animal exploitation may be here sooner than you think!
As Greta said, “[C]hange is coming, whether you like it or not.”
Be a Leader, Not a Follower! Go Vegan Today
The United Nations has stated that meat consumption must decrease by as much as 90% in order for us to avoid the most catastrophic effects of climate change.
Thankfully, going vegan is easier than ever. Reduce your contribution to climate change by going vegan today. Go even further by persuading a friend or loved one to do the same!