Thinking about Childhood: Being and Becoming in the World
Introduction: Sixteen-year-old climate change activist Greta Thunberg is currently a conspicuous presence in news bulletins. She is conspicuous less because she is vocal about global climate change than because she is a teenager. Although welcomed to speak to the United Nations, many in power have vilified her because she is young. While she does not profess to be an authority and suggests that we pay attention to scientific experts, she has been criticized for not being an expert, for being “melodramatic,” and for being too young to be taken seriously. National Review editor Rich Lowry writes:
There’s a reason that we don’t look to teenagers for guidance on fraught issues of public policy. With very rare exceptions — think, say, the philosopher John Stuart Mill, who was a child prodigy — kids have nothing interesting to say to us. They just repeat back what they’ve been told by adults, with less nuance and maturity.