Greta Thunberg at Davos: 3 straw-man arguments from Twitter & YouTube comments

The 17-year-old climate activist gets a lot of criticism online. Which of those critiques hold water?

CBS News
  • On Tuesday, Thunberg gave a speech at an event in Davos, Switzerland.
  • She mainly spoke about the failure of world leaders to act on climate change.
  • Also speaking at Davos was President Donald Trump, who didn't mention Thunberg by name, but dismissed the "prophets of doom" who are calling for increased climate change policies.
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The philosophy of protest: Thoreau, King, and Civil Disobedience

The protesters on the street aren't just taking up space, they carry on a well thought out tradition.

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  • Nonviolent protests designed to effect change are a common occurrence around the world, especially today.
  • While they may seem to be a sign of sour grapes or contrarianism, there is a serious philosophical backing to them.
  • Thinkers from Thoreau to Gandhi and King have made the case for civil disobedience as a legitimate route to change.
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Cory Booker on PC culture: Is censoring others really the best way?

The key to changing hearts and minds for a better world? Lead with love, says Senator Cory Booker.

  • When asked to comment on the debate surrounding political correctness on college campuses, Senator Cory Booker recounts a personal story of a gay friend who, many years ago, patiently endured Booker's naive questions as he tried to understand gay culture.
  • Having the freedom to ask questions—even dumb, ignorant questions—helped Booker grow and become an LGBTQ ally. His friend's patience and generosity in answering those questions helped Booker understand that you should always "lead with love."
  • PC culture may stop people asking questions and learning, out of fear of being rebuked. Censorship may not be the best way. Booker suggests that a better path forward, for people on both sides, is to ask: Is my question reflective of love, of empathy, of compassion? Am I being gentle in how I deal with this?
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Why generational pressure is the key to climate change policy

Change is coming, but not from the generation that currently holds positions of power.

  • With figures like Greta Thunberg and demonstrations like the global climate strike, it's become apparent that young people are driving the effort to stop climate change.
  • This generational pressure is the key to change. In the same way that smoking became less accepted in society, even frowned upon, so too can the behaviors that have sped up climate change.
  • Moving forward, energy companies will play a major role if they can reimagine themselves as part of the solution to this crisis and forge a better path to save the planet.
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Is globalization actually disempowering?

More than ever before, we're aware of the tragedy and suffering that goes on in the world. But does that mean we can do more about it?

  • All animals operate on empirical senses to survive. With technology, humans have so increased our sensorial capacity that we maintain a high stress level without necessarily being in danger.
  • Globalization creates a sense of unity in that we are aware of what's going on in the world without being empowered to do something about the tragedy that occurs.
  • By narrowing that focus, we can actually have an impact.
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