Dear M. Bernard Arnault, Leave Greta Thunberg Alone

Dear M. Bernard Arnault,

Leave Greta Thunberg alone.

Did you publicly criticize climate 16-year-old activist Greta Thunberg for “surrendering to catastrophism”?  Really? I am so astounded by your comment, which I read moments ago in Forbes Magazine that I simply had to write to you and make sure that there was no error involved.

Surely, as Europe’s wealthiest adult, you have better things to do than criticize 16-year-old Greta. Greta, a symbol to millions of young people all over the world.  Someone who is finally bringing the attention of the most imperiling endangerment of all humanity since, well, forever.  Oh, now that I’ve written that, does truth-saying make me a catastrophist too?

Greta’s whole point is that we have to get real.  She is affronted – just like I am and BILLIONS of other people by the fact that not nearly enough is being done to save our planet.  You and self-serving people like you (i.e. your buddy Donald Trump) are looking for a rose-colored solution where words like innovation, creativity, and excellence (your exact words) will somehow eliminate the need to do the unthinkable – change our ways.  M. Arnault, innovation, creativity, and excellence are the exact things that fuel this spiraling catastrophe. (Oh, there I go again!)

This is a VALUES problem.  It will not be solved with more innovation, creativity, and excellence or any other perfume brand. Values, the things that help us focus on what’s important, instead of attacking young idealists.

Let’s say, for the sake of your most pitiful argument, that Greta should be more positive and hopeful in her approach.  Did you once think that will all the billions at your disposal you could provide her with innovative, creative, excellent copyrighters that you employ to further the cause in what you might consider a more appropriate way? (And lest you believe you are off the hook, you still can.) Do you not coach your teams to come with solutions, not problems?

You don’t have to be a psychologist to see that your aim here is to mute her message, not transform it; to disarm and foil, not promote a better way.

Does Greta pose some sort of threat to your €100 Billion empire? Are you worried that someone young with so much influence might say derogatory things about buying fur coats?  Now THAT would be a catastrophe, wouldn’t it?

From what I’ve seen, the concerned world’s brave 16-year-old Greta doesn’t look like she’s surrendering to anything.  As a matter of fact, to me, she seems defiant.

Could it be personal? Is it that she, a Swede, speaks English at 16 years of age better than you do at 70? Could that be the real issue? Will you be this hard on your own grandchildren, Maxim, and Roman in just a few years? Am I being too personal now?  Take it like an adult. Ignore me. Use the tools and decades of experience that prevent people like me from affecting your life, and leave Gretta alone.

She’s 16 for goodness sake! A minor. She’s still learning the ways of the world and we should be helping to form her not rip her apart. Think of how her parents must feel as they negotiate her need to become autonomous with their need to protect her from foul-mouth oligarchs who should know better.  Has no one told you that with age and power comes responsibility?  Yes, she is putting herself in the limelight, but how much perspective of the world did you have at that age?

Instead of attempting to shut her down, you should be applauding her courage. Instead of disapproving of her style you should be promoting her willingness to stand for what she believes in – something severely lacking in recent generations.

In closing, M. Arnault, you have promised to reduce your carbon emissions by 25% by 2020. We will be watching and expecting that you, at 71, will have the determination and guts to walk the talk like 16-year-old Greta.

Sincerely yours,

Michael Hoffman


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top