CNN announced today that teenage environmental activist Greta Thunberg—who may have recovered from COVID-19 earlier this year—will take part in a coronavirus panel tomorrow which will also include a former acting director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and a former Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.
While perhaps surprising at first glance, Thunberg’s inclusion makes a lot of sense upon brief consideration. Obviously, she won’t be expounding upon the medical and scientific nuances of epidemiology but what she should be able to do is draw attention to the civilizational threat posed by the comorbidity of climate change and global pandemics.
As sea levels rise and millions of human beings are displaced from newly uninhabitable coastal regions we will see mass migrations of people and unprecedented refugee crises. Some estimates state that we could see as many as 1 billion environmental migrants by 2050. As more and more people are packed into tighter, less sanitary conditions the threat of disease transmission will skyrocket.
Additionally, severe shifts in climate will affect where different kinds of viruses can thrive and spread. Regions that were previously largely impervious to certain strains of disease could suddenly become highly susceptible to them, pushing existing healthcare infrastructures to their breaking points.
Republicans, who love to attack Thunberg whenever given the chance, have pounced on the CNN announcement, showcasing their own ignorance in the process. Donald Trump Jr., the president’s buffoonish son, ran to Twitter to attack the child activist.
The First Son mocked Thunberg as having a “remarkable career” as a “world renowned infectious disease specialist and epidemiologist” and a “leading scientific voice when it comes to climate change.” Thunberg claims to be neither, but conservatives despise her for having the gall to stand up to fossil fuel companies and fight for a better, healthier world for future generations.
“Just wow so impressive,” added Don Jr., a man who has never accomplished anything in his life that wasn’t handed to him by his father on a silver platter.
Again, it must be stressed that this a fully grown man, son of the most powerful man in the world, picking an online fight with a child. As this sniveling son of privilege so often does, Trump Jr. has once again embarrassed himself in front of the entire world.
Greta Thunberg having a remarkable career already in that as a teenager she’s now a world renowned infectious disease specialist and epidemiologist AND a leading scientific voice when it comes to global climate policy.
Just wow so impressive. https://t.co/398T4wXDry
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) May 13, 2020
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Rob Haffey is a writer, filmmaker, and winner of the ScreenCraft Writing Fellowship. He is a graduate of Drexel University.