Criticising a teenage girl with good intentions will not make a person especially popular, and Young’s Twitter mentions were duly filled with scornful critics. “I’ve never known,” remarked one tweeter, “a grown man to get triggered so easily by a child.” The medium of childlike innocence has become the environmental message, and been placed on a pedestal above criticism. But, given her own insistence on the vital urgency of the matter at hand, heartwarming optics ought to be rather less important than the lack of substance. Thunberg’s rhetoric has a tendency to lapse into demagogy—simplistic, emotive, accusatory, and apocalyptic. “You say you love your children above all else, and yet you are stealing their future in front of their very eyes,” she has sullenly instructed the assembled adults. And: “You are not mature enough to tell it like it is—even that burden you leave to us children.” The only “sensible” thing to do, she claims, is to “pull the emergency brake.”

What that would mean in practice? Thunberg is not detained by details. Culturico explains that she represents the “dark green” environmentalists, who blame a combination of overpopulation and technology for our changing environment. The “light green” view, on the other hand, is that overpopulation is not a problem per se, and that technology will be the answer to coping with climate change, not “pulling the emergency brake” by halting CO2 emissions. Thunberg admits that her preferred solution is not “politically possible,” but this has only convinced her of the need to “change the system.” Her ideas are emblematic of a radical environmentalism aligned with a far-Left anti-capitalism, and parts of her speeches could be mistaken for the recital of a revolutionary manifesto. “We have come here,” Thunberg proclaims, “to let you know that change is coming, whether you like it or not. The real power belongs to the people.”