Photos of Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg are popping up in cafeterias across Israel in a “green” trend designed to shame diners out of using plastic cutlery. Many online saw shades of Orwell in the new fad.
Dubbed “Greta shaming,” the trend has swept workplace lunchrooms in Tel Aviv, with eco-minded workers placing photos of a disapproving Thunberg alongside disposable forks and plates, casting judgement on anyone who dares to ignore their environmental footprint.
The teenage activist has trotted the globe doling out doses of climate shame and “How dare you”-s to world leaders over their alleged inaction on the environment, but it appears her message is catching on in Israel, where the city of Tel Aviv recently passed a ban on single-use plastics in some childcare facilities.
While several netizens praised the trend’s message in earnest, even while enjoying the humor, many found the scowling photos off-putting, conjuring dystopian images of a green analogue to Orwell’s all-seeing “Big Brother.”
Some supporters of the young activist took the fad as pure ridicule, however, and were accordingly offended, with one stating“How juvenile and ignorant can you get? I am surprised at Tel Aviv and disappointed.”
Other environmentally-minded commenters approved of the idea, but observed that plastic contributes little to climate change – accounting for only a “drop in the bucket” – largely robbing the trend of any practical effect.
“Instead of shame, they could just empower people with more conscientious alternatives,” another tweeter suggested.
Thunberg rose to fame after staging a school walkout over the climate issue in Sweden in 2018, and has since toured the world lecturing on the follies of fossil fuel-addicted “grown-ups” and calling for urgent action to address the environment.