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Greta Mural Sparks Controversy

Huge portrait of Greta Thunberg now stares down at San Francisco streets.

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The Swedish teen climate activist, Greta Thunberg, has made quite a name for herself as she tries to promote the idea of climate change around the world. Recently, she was honored with a mural of her image in San Francisco, California. The 60-foot-tall by 30-foot-wide painting was prominently placed on a building on Mason Street and has proven controversial – while some people admire Greta’s activism, she has just as many critics.

The Argentinean artist Nino Cobre (real name Andres Pereoselli) is well known for his murals that depict the eyes or close-up faces of individuals. With Greta, the artist took a different route and painted a head-and-shoulders likeness.

Thunberg became an almost overnight sensation after her anger and frustration were splashed across media outlets. Her famous phrase “How dare you!” was aimed toward world leaders at the United Nations, who she does not think have acted enough to stop climate change. The accusation was heard around the world, and soon the 16-year-old found herself an international celebrity. Not long after, she was nominated for the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize Award.

The recent mural, meant to honor her outspoken protests, prompted both praise and condemnation. Those who oppose the artwork criticize both the rendition of Miss Thunberg, which some say resembles spooky T.V. character Wednesday Addams instead of the activist, and the fact that it was even created in the first place. Some commented that it was ironic for a painting created with aerosol cans to celebrate a climate activist. However, the artist and the sponsor, nonprofit organization One Atmosphere, said the paint used was water-based and environmentally friendly. They even said the crew used an electric lift to carry the artist to the eighth floor of the building where the artist painted the work, and that they used electric scooters or walked to the project site.

Climate change, global warming, and climate control are heatedly debated, with people either believing the planet is doomed for destruction in the near future or claiming the issue is blown out of proportion to the point of being ridiculous. There is hardly any middle ground. So, it’s no wonder that Greta’s mural could elicit such controversy.

Those who contest global warming argue that the teen should not be celebrated when she has done nothing but display angst and fear. If she was really concerned about the climate, then she should be actively doing more about it instead of just talking. On the other side of the spectrum, Greta is lauded as a hero for standing up for her beliefs and giving the younger generation a stronger voice.

As for Greta herself, she has just left the U.S., sailing to Spain to attend the 25th United Nations Climate Conference, the COP25.

Kelli Ballard

National Correspondent at and Kelli Ballard is an author, editor, and publisher. Her writing interests span many genres including a former crime/government reporter, fiction novelist, and playwright. Originally a Central California girl, Kelli now resides in the Seattle area.

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