There is a theory making the rounds on social media that claims Greta Thunberg is actually a time traveler on a mission, and these pictures are the “proof.”
An 1898 photograph, published in the @history2cool Twitter account, which posts historical images, showed an old gold rush scene in northwestern Canada, in Yukon territory; three children working with mining tools, two boys and a girl, all looking at the camera. Does the girl’s face ring a bell? Can you hear her asking “How dare you”? Could it really be Greta or is it an unknown ancestor?
As soon as the photo was posted, thousands of people across the internet started remarking on the extraordinary resemblance between the girl in the photo and Greta Thunberg, the 17-year-old Swedish activist fighting for policies that reduce climate change.
However, it’s pretty strange to imagine Greta traveling from the past to the present day. Or was it a Greta from the future, who traveled to our time and, seeing that there was no hope in 2019, decided to travel even further back in order to prevent the parents of today’s world leaders from meeting?
The photo’s original file is held in the University of Washington’s Special Collections archive. In response to questions about this conspiracy theory, Kristin Kinsey, a specialist in digital and visual materials of this collection, argued that, instead of trying to verify the theory’s claims, young people should be focusing their resources and interest in the issues that Greta Thunberg is trying to bring attention to.
Nevertheless, Kinsey’s response doesn’t solve the great photo riddle surrounding Greta: is she a time traveler? Did she come from the future to try to warn us about the catastrophic consequences of our apathy toward the ongoing climate emergency?
The truth is that most conspiracy theories are highly fragile and laughable hypotheses, but it still gives us a little hope to think that in the future there is an army of extraordinary warriors who travel to our time or even further back to help us make better choices and save the planet.