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Autistic Lincs column by Spalding-based performance poet Callum Brazzo, published every week in the Lincolnshire Free Press


By Spalding Today Columnist


Hello there, Callum Brazzo here, continuing to make Autistic Lincs.

You may have heard of Greta Thunberg, a young autistic activist. You do now.

But why?

Callum Brazzo, Spalding.Photo by Tim Wilson.SG-130218-137TW (17311281)
Callum Brazzo, Spalding.Photo by Tim Wilson.SG-130218-137TW (17311281)

Is it because she’s young that her voice is heard?

Is it because she is autistic that she is in the news?

To quote my wonderful Lithuanian friend; 'Why are you special if you are autistic?’

We’ll come back to this.

For now, I want to tell you about the #ClimateStrike and #Fridays4Future gatherings all across the world that happened this past Friday.

By the time you’ve read this, there would have been a casual meeting around the Red Lion Hotel in Spalding to show support for our world and its future.

We have so many natural resources to use and yet we have collectively made bad decisions after allowing them to have been made in the past.

Environmental campaigners from Spalding met in Market Place for Friday's Global Climate Strike event.
Environmental campaigners from Spalding met in Market Place for Friday's Global Climate Strike event.

They are now impacting on our future, from using plastics and burning rainforests to killing off animals for prizes, to name a few.

What will standing around do to solve these generational problems?Nothing.

If we are not prepared to have open conversations about issues that do not only affect us, but people that come after us, how can we even make a start

on action?

The gathering in Spalding on Friday shows that we care.

Other news that catches my attention and, as always, it’s impossible to condense it all into a neat little package, is Inspector Gareth Boxall standing up for CCTV.

This is tangible action but it speaks to how we will capture potential crime, specifically in Greta’s case, hate crime.

Greta has conflicts with journalists because of her autistic nature and people coming to conclusion about her, further highlighting the need for education and its application around autistic people.

Closed minds often open a can of worms.

I won’t relive the media mayhem but, in contrast, focus on the appropriate coverage from all of Greta’s past encounters and her speeches which are better ways to remember her.

Those speeches are well-documented and so by simply typing in her name, it will bring up vast amounts of articles.

Returning to the questions asked earlier; Is it because she’s young that her voice is heard?

Is it because she is autistic that she is in the news?

Does it inspire me to know that at 16 years old, Greta is inspiring others to make change?Yes.

Does it make me happy that an autistic individual is quite possibly at the helm of climate change action, or at the very least, the latest spokesperson to push

this agenda?Yes.

Why are you special if you are autistic?

As I explained to the same friend, autistic people have endured a historic struggle to share the narrative of autistic adults.

So when someone can break through those perceived barriers and say ‘Hello, I’m here!’, I will celebrate it.

And as my friend replied and concluded in a conversation we had last week, it comes down to this..."If someone is doing good things and is active, I agree that needs to be supported."

Her age and her brain are inextricable features of her identity as we know it now and whilst Greta will get older, she will remain autistic and just like

the autistic identity and the autistic individual, you cannot have one without the other.

We must act in the interests of everyone, even if many of us do not believe it matters right now, because we are building a sustainable future and you cannot have climate change without it.

Believe me, this is the tip of the Thunberg.

European Evolution



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