Following the speech of 16-year-old environmental activist Greta Thunberg, the media in the world is full of doubts as to whether it is an inappropriate burden on a teenage girl to “solve the problems of the world”. Center’s Psychologist Mia Roje Đapić has provided expert comments on Miss7 and RTL :     

Miss7: Expert’s word: Has Greta Thunberg taken on too much of a burden? 

Journalist Kristina Gačarić published a topic on September 26, 2019, which reads: “Mia Roje Đapić, Psychologist at the Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Center says about the activism of young unformed persons: “Children should be encouraged to engage in various actions appropriate for their age and development, such as recycling, waste collection, the introduction of cloth instead of plastic bags, and the like. However, placing the burden of adult responsibility on children and young people, putting them in a position of fear and a sense of ‘I must’ for something they are not developmentally prepared for is very harmful and can have long-term consequences. As Greta herself said, she should be in school, and people whose job it is to protect the planet should do their job. This is especially true for children and young people with disabilities or psychological disabilities, who may be overburdened with responsibilities they cannot fulfil. They can be emotionally overwhelmed and frightened without adequate regulation, faced with media exposure and ‘burn out’, lose privacy, suffer from numerous negative comments and feedback on social networks, all of which can be detrimental to their primary vulnerability. In short, responsible information and involvement of children in the development of appropriate action – certainly yes, but overcoming these frameworks violates many children’s rights. ”

Even children under the age of 12 can hear through the media that the world is on the verge of a climate change disaster and that can make some of them more emotionally vulnerable. Mia Roje Đapić reveals that we should discuss with children about climate change: “Same as with any topic that is serious, worrying and of public interest, it is important to inform children according to their age and stage of development, as well as their interest. This means that we will answer questions honestly and calmly, but in no way can we overwhelm a child, create anxiety (APA is considering acknowledging a particular type of anxiety in children, eco-anxiety), burden it with our perception that this is nature’s ravange for all the harm that people did,  and also we can no put responsibility on a particular child (or a group of children) to change the world. 

RTL: Is Greta a heroine or a victim? 

On September 25, RTL broadcasted a report by Ide Hamer entitled “Is Greta a Heroine or a Victim?”:

“Greta is right, the UN Climate Report revealed on Wednesday. By 2100, sea ​​levels will rise by a meter, and every year there will be floods such as have happened so far once in a century. Cities will disappear, rivers will dry up…   

“We have to listen to the scientists. We have to unite with science and then we have to act in harmony with science,” said this teenage girl. 

Time magazine  named Gretu Thunberg  as one of the 100 Most Influential People of the Year. The climate heroine first encountered global warming as an eight-year-old when she watched a documentary at school. In the book “Our House in Flames”, the family describes her mental state.    

In an excerpt in the book, Greta’s mother wrote: “After two months without eating, Greta lost almost 10 pounds, which is too much when a person is already thin. Her temperature is low and any blood pressure shows clear signs of starvation. She no longer has the strength to climb the stairs, and in the depression assessment tests, her results are skyrocketing. ” 

It is depression, eating disorder and Asperger’s syndrome that many use against her. They publicly called her mentally ill and mocked her physical appearance. US President Donald Trump also mocked hersarcastically writing: “She seems like a very happy, young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. It’s so nice to see that! ”     

Is Greta Thunberg a heroine or a girl who sacrifices herself for the common good – a debate that has been going on for days in Croatia and in the world. Experts believe the responsibility on the back of a teenage girl is too great.   

“Children who have some mental health problems, symptoms or even diagnoses are much more vulnerable to any risks than other children. Every child has the right to be a child and has the right to the protection of privacy and the protection of medical condition. As Greta herself said, “You were ashamed! I was supposed to be in school today! People who are supposed to save the planet and need to save it!”, and I would agree with that quote, says Psychologist at the Zagreb Child and Youth Protection Center, Mia Roje Đapić.     

The little girl they once mistreated is a global icon today. She received the “Alternative Nobel Prize” and was nominated for the right one. 

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