A £24,000 Greta Thunberg statue installed at a British university, sparked widespread anger. The University of Westminster unveiled the statue on 30th March, despite the strong opposition from students and staff members.
The university’s student union along with many other individuals were raising voice against the statue long before its placement. The critics argued that the statue goes against everything Greta stands for in front of the public. Some called it a form of self-appraisal, while others questioned about the wastage of money and energy just for the statue.
The environment activist has been highly vocal about carbon dioxide (CO2) that largely makes up the global greenhouse gas emissions. She has not yet responded to her first-ever life-sized statue and neither on the debate.
Is Greta Thunberg Statue A Vanity Project?
The Winchester University and College Union (UCU) has branded the construction of the Greta Thunberg statue a “vanity project” by the outgoing vice-chancellor. It shared on social media that it has passed a Motion of Censure against the university for lacking financial transparency while making decisions.
According to the union, the university was going through several years of austerity, as it appeared to the students. There were job cuts, increased workloads, and extended casualization. The union argued how the institution could afford to build a statue when the money could have been used to prevent redundancies.
Reportedly, the university was also unable to assist students with their difficulties due to COVID restrictions and lockdown. The union has urged it to address the problems which students are highlighting and show a transparent breakdown of financial support and expenditures.
Is the Use of Money and Energy Worthwhile?
Students caused an outrage on social media with scathing tweets containing horrible allegations against the university. Some of them may have fabricated to gain attention but some students were genuinely angry, who were thinking that their university was going through financial crises. They described that they faced terrible circumstances during the isolation period but the institution did not help, citing the lack of resources. Apparently, it also did not provide mental health services for preventing students from falling into depression or other states.
The bronze Greta Thunberg statue not only caused the wastage of money but also metal, which could have also been used as a resource. Social media users have identified how the university has wasted an opportunity to produce enough electricity to light up a lecture hall.
Real Action on Climate Change
According to reports, the same university declared a climate and ecological emergency in 2019 and officially joined Global Climate Strike. It made that move to join millions of protestants addressing climate change and demanding serious actions. However, the institution’s decision to erect a statute involved an ironic process.
Smelting bronze, copper, or iron releases wastewater, slag, and toxic metals into the atmosphere. Mixing it with the combustion of various fossil fuels increases the concentration of Sulfur Dioxide that may result in acid rain. Therefore, the concept of the Greta Thunberg statue serves no purpose other than just stand there as a symbol of climate disaster.