David Marsden: Greta deserves better than this

It’s evident who’s capable of demonstrating mature behaviour: Greta Thunberg.

It certainly isn’t the anonymous person who recently produced a decal of the 17-year-old Swedish climate change activist.

The sticker features a simple drawing of a female’s bare back with hands pulling on her braided pigtails, and the name “Greta” written below.

Thunberg’s response: “They are starting to get more and more desperate… This shows that we’re winning,” she tweeted on the weekend.

The teenager’s maturity stands in stark contrast to that of the coward who created the offensive decal, which includes the logo of a central Alberta energy service company.

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At a minimum, all of us have at least one female figure in our lives: our mother.

Many men are blessed with wives or girlfriends, sisters, daughters and innumerable female friends.

Why would the person behind this objectionable sticker think for even one moment it’s OK to create an image that suggests rape?

It doesn’t matter who the target of the abuse is, it is indefensible.

For that matter, any image that attempts to glorify the disrespect and mistreatment of any person or creature, is stomach turning.

X-Site Energy initially disassociated itself from the decal, saying it didn’t post it to social media. More recently, it said on its website that “we deeply regret the pain we may have caused.”

The company states that it’s committed to recovering and destroying all the decals it distributed and says it hopes everyone stops republishing the image.

The company adds that management takes full responsibility and that organizational changes have been made to reflect this.

“Explicit images and personal attacks on anyone are unacceptable,” it admits.

That much is certainly true. The decal is evidence of a tremendous absence of awareness and intellect.

Nobody has to agree with Thunberg’s views on climate change. In fact, many people don’t.

But surely it’s better to point out the flaws in her reasoning and her naivete in espousing the notion that global greenhouse gas emissions can be steeply drawn down quickly, rather than resorting to crudeness.

It’s estimated a few nuclear plants would have to be added every day around the globe to achieve the much-ballyhooed target of being carbon neutral by 2030, or even by 2050.

That’s not likely to happen, despite the huffing and puffing of well-financed agitators, especially given concerns about the safety of nuclear energy. Other alternative energy sources, such as wind and solar, are even less practical as a replacement for fossil fuels.

Facts, in place of gutter humour, are a more noble and effective method of trying to shape public policy.

We should respect Greta Thunberg’s youthful passion. We should challenge her rhetoric to ensure it isn’t accepted as reality.

We should not debase ourselves and jeopardize the reputation of Canada’s most important industry by sinking to vulgarity.

David Marsden is managing editor of the Red Deer Advocate.

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