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Shaming Co-workers’ Plastic Use, One Greta Thunberg Photo At A Time

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If you haven’t hopped on board the reusable utensil train yet, perhaps the soul-searing death glare of this Swedish teen will change your mind. That at least is the hope of Israeli employees posting photos of Greta Thunberg around their offices in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

Haaretz journalist Allison Kaplan Sommer began posting about the trend via her Twitter account @AllisonKSommer in early November 2019. Even Wix headquarters in Tel Aviv were not immune to Thunberg’s judgemental glower gracing their stack of disposable coffee cups.

Hebrew media outlet, Time Out, appears to have reported on the story first, crediting Nadav Gazit, a Haaretz employee, with putting the first photo on display in her office’s cafeteria, “Really without intent to make it such a trend. I just thought Greta’s angry face might make my colleagues think twice before using it once.” 

Mixed Reactions

While many found the trend to be a cute and clever way to address Israel’s shocking plastic consumption problem – a recent Adam Teva V’Din study found “that the average Israeli creates more than twice the international average plastic waste per person each day” – several interesting objections were raised to the photo campaign.

Peninah Lamm (@PeninahLamm) remarked, “I love that people are wasting trees printing unnecessary pictures to shame others about paper/plastic usage.”

Others worried the viral thread was more of an attack on Greta Thunberg personally, like William French (@wtfrench76) who found the images “deeply weird and more than a little creepy. Greta Thunberg is not a ‘prop’, she is a young woman with agency and independence. This lacks all respect.”

More than a few commenters found themselves moved to use more disposables just to spite the photos, seeming to view them as an affront from Thunberg herself.

Haters are Gonna Hate

The 16-year-old has earned herself international fame, a Nobel Peace Prize nomination and a spot on TIME’s top one-hundred influential people list with her environmental awareness campaign and “School Strike for Climate.” She has also gained her fair share of detractors, garnering notable backlash for her own plastic use in a photo she shared in early 2019.

She even caught the negative attention of President Trump after her speech at the U.N. Climate Summit.

Of course, the teen was likely less than phased since she won’t be joining any Trump fan groups based on the now-viral video of her reaction to the President of the United States.

Being Heard

Whether in support or not, Thunberg has managed to get people talking about what she cares about most. With a name nearly synonymous with the climate change movement, the attention she has gathered on a global scale is palpable.

In her U.N. Climate Summit speech, Greta Thunberg made her point clear when speaking to world leaders, “How dare you continue to look away and come here saying that you are doing enough when the politics and solutions needed are still nowhere in sight.”

“You say you ‘hear’ us and that you understand the urgency. But no matter how sad and angry I am, I don’t want to believe that. Because if you fully understood the situation and still kept on failing to act, then you would be evil. And I refuse to believe that.”

“You are failing us. But the young people are starting to understand your betrayal. The eyes of all future generations are upon you. And if you choose to fail us, I say: We will never forgive you. We will not let you get away with this. Right here, right now is where we draw the line. The world is waking up. And change is coming, whether you like it or not.”

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