Opinion

In Another Act of Hero Worship, Greta Thunberg Gets Massive Mural

While nice in theory, the tribute to the teenage climate activist misses the point of her platform.

An in-progress mural of Greta Thunberg (courtesy of One Atmosphere)

In a continuing case of cool-but-missing-the-point, a huge mural of climate change activist Greta Thunberg is being mounted in San Francisco.

“It’s enough to make anyone stop and consider their environmental impact,” reported CNN, in a basically untrue statement. The project is spearheaded by the climate change impact group One Atmosphere, and is being painted by Argentinian muralist Nino Cobre (aka Andrés Pereoselli), who is known for his hyper-realistic mural portraits. Cobre has done a number of large-scale murals in Santa Fe, Argentina, as well as London, Chicago, and Brazil, among other places. This mural is the inaugural project for art that celebrates activism — one of several programming arcs for One Atmosphere, which also works with SF schools in educational campaigns about conversion to LED lightbulbs.

The mural is located at 420 Mason St., near the bustling business and tourist center of Union Square, on the side of the Native Sons of the Golden West building. The Natives Sons organization was founded in 1875, to celebrate the “spirit and perseverance” of the miners who immigrated to California, displacing and murdering actual native populations in their hunger for gold.

In case you’re interested in what Greta Thunberg actually thinks might make a substantive difference in pushing the needle toward change with respect to climate impact policy, the young activist’s FridaysForFuture movement outlines strike tactics and logistics, and posts updates on the million-strong involvement in public protest with the hope of influencing environmental policy. These weekly strikes take place all over the world, and mirror the initial protest undertaken by Thunberg at Swedish Parliament, which thrust the teen into the international spotlight as one of the clearest voices for meaningful change with respect to climate crisis. Since that time, Thunberg has addressed the United Nations, advocated for greater maturity on the part of politicians who seem determined to ignore the inevitable, and at no point indicated that she is interested in the mass merchandising of her image or message for capitalist gain or publicity grabs.

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