Could Greta Thunberg be a time traveller sent from the future to save humanity from the unfolding climate crisis? A cadre of Twitter users seem to think so, after the photograph of a young Klondike goldminer bearing a striking resemblance to the Swedish activist was discovered this week.
The now viral 1898 image of three children operating a goldmine in Canada’s Yukon territory is part of a sprawling collection by the documentary photographer Eric Hegg. Near the end of the 19th century, the Swedish American captured some of the most iconic images of people hoping to make their fortunes in the rugged north.
Firstly, never mind the 1898 Greta, today’s Greta Thunberg is most certainly a gold-digger. She’s become globally famous in ways that most movie stars can’t manage. And there’s probably pots of money in that, as people pay to see her, listen to what she says, seek her endorsement, and so on. She’s probably poring over dozens of offers right now.
Secondly, the children operating the goldmine back in 1898 were an example of child labour of a kind that was banned in Britain by 1898, much like slavery was banned 60 years earlier. And today’s Greta Thunberg is also an example of child labour. She’s been stuck in front of the cameras to do the work, speak on behalf of the adults who are backing her. She’s gone missing from school. So she’s ceasing to be educated. I hope she at least managed to learn to read.