Professor Kevin Anderson has praised the 16 year old Swedish school student Greta Thunberg, for her communication skills, subtle humour and ability to cut through “fluff and nonsense.”
During a wide-ranging interview on Monday 13th May, Anderson, of the University of Manchester’s Tyndall Centre, again rebutted insinuations that he wrote her speeches.
“I have nothing to do with writing her speeches. She writes her speeches, not her parents, no-one else – she writes them. But she then asks some perfectly reasonable scientific questions, from a really quite solid position of knowledge and understanding. So they’re like debates between colleagues – that’s how I see it with her.”
See the clip from the interview here.
Here is a transcript.
12:30 Do you worry that parts of Greta Thunberg’s message are being selectively ignored and other parts which are more acceptable to the green capitalists are being amplified?
That’s inevitable. I mean, I wouldn’t expect anything else, and I would be genuinely shocked if we got anything else. Of course that’s what people will use – they’ll use the bits of the message that they want to hear and they’ll ignore the rest.
Perhaps slightly flippantly, it doesn’t worry me too much because I think she’s much brighter than they are, and probably has much more staying power.
I think they’re underestimating her.
I think they’re underestimating her, but also something, you may have noticed, I’ve been quite involved to some extent with her and her family. They came to us later on when I was working in Sweden and she comes and asks me questions, science questions. That’s all. So it’s like working with a colleague here. So the interview I gave to Der Spiegel a little while ago was making that point exactly. They said am I writing her speeches. I have nothing to do with writing her speeches. She writes her speeches, not her parents, no-one else, she writes them. But she then asks some perfectly reasonable scientific questions, from a really quite solid position of knowledge and understanding. So they’re like debates between colleagues – that’s how I see it with her.
She’s strong, and she’s knowledgeable, and she is obviously a remarkably good communicator in a way that people had not expected.
They think Asperger’s means unable to understand emotions, but I don’t think it does.
I love watching her sometimes when she’s filmed, and you get these little smiles, when she has these little bits of humour, and they are very very funny.
I know the ones you mean.
And I feel sometimes for her dad, because she makes little comments, and he says something and she slightly disagrees. And her father’s a lovely man and he’s really good at making sure that she’s got her feet on the ground and she’s not being pushed too far. Which is very challenging to do I would have thought, given the position that she’s in . But I love that interplay that you see sometimes you see, between the two of them.
But my concern had been of course that we put too much pressure on her and that [people would assume] “Greta Thunberg is going to resolve these issues”. And as she points out, that’s not her role at all. She’s a catalyst. She’s an informed and robust catalyst for change, but the change doesn’t come from her. The changes come from us all collectively making our contribution. But I think she’s a difficult voice to ignore, and she cuts through the fluff and the nonsense in a way that we’ve needed for a long time. It was really I think in some respects I think the role and responsibility of the academics to do this and we haven’t, we’ve fundamentally failed. At a collective level I think we’ve been pretty much co-opted.