My 15-year-old niece in Boston recently asked me if the hand-lettered ”school strike for climate” sign in Swedish that 17-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg carries around with her everywhere she goes — all over Sweden, all over Europe, all over the USA and Canada and Madrid, on trains and on two translatlantic sailboat trips — everywhere — almost never letting the wooden sign out of her sight — even carrying it aboard on her two sailboat voyages across the Atlantic — or out of the sight of newspaper cameramen or TV cameras — if it serves as a kind of security blanket and talisman for her. Or what?
See a photo of it here:
When I recently posted this question on social media, not as a critic but as a friend and admirer of Greta (I like her, I think she is a very interesting person) I received this answer from a practicing pychotherapist in her 70s. She told me:
”My guess would be that the handlettered sign that she carries with her everywhere, on train journeys, ocean saiIboat crossings, and which she clutches in photos almost like she’s holding a cherished teddy bear, is for her and her PR team of handlers something that has become iconic, her global signature if you will — a kind of visual reference to where and how the youth climate demonstrations started — so I think it’s not so much a ‘security blanket’ or a ‘lucky charm’ or ‘talisman’ for her as for the outside world (rather than for Greta’s own psychological well-being). But I’m only guessing. I have no inside direct line to Greta or her advisers, I’m afraid.”
”However, that said, let me add this: When I think of all the people, young and old, who have been out on the streets protesting about government inaction on the ‘climate emergency,’ I find it pretty amazing to think that a year ago none of this — school climate strikes, Extinction Rebellion — had even started. So Greta must be doing something right, no? If she needs it or uses it as a security blanket or talisman to buoy up her own spirits as part of her global appeal and journey, then more power to her. After all, she was chosen as Time magazine’s ‘Person of the Year’ in 2019.”
So dear readers, what do you think about my niece’s question? Is the sign Greta carries around with her everywhere she goes a kind of useful psychological security blanket or a lucky talisman? I’d love to hear your answers, pro or con.