Greta Thunberg Mural in Alberta Defaced With Pro-Oil Graffiti

Many Albertans were not stoked about celebrity climate activist Greta Thunberg’s visit to Oil Country last week.

The unease began before she had even arrived. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and Energy Minister Sonya Savage, for example, would have much rather seen her visit Saudi Arabia or Iran.

Thunberg nevertheless stopped by to deliver a speech at a climate change rally in the provincial capital. That’s Edmonton, by the way.

Around 8,000 people attended Thunberg’s rally at the Alberta Legislature on Friday. Others lent their support in other ways, like local artist AJA Louden, who painted a mural of the 16-year-old Norwegian in Edmonton.

About that: the mural was defaced pretty much immediately. On Sunday morning, one man contributed the words “This is oil country!!!” and “Stop the lies” to the artwork. Eventually a slur, in French, was added. We expect the painting to be bulldozed and replaced with a barrel of oil by mid-week.

“I think it’s absolutely intolerant of them to tell us how to change our lives and our people. She should go back to her country and try to make her country better,” said James Bagnell, the man who originally defaced the mural. “Just shut up until you have solutions,” he added. Nice.

The artist who painted the mural, meanwhile, took a more nuanced approach.

“Nothing lasts forever — one of my favourite things about that wall is that anyone is allowed to express themselves there, so I’m not upset at all. I haven’t seen what went over it, but if anyone is upset about what was painted over the portrait, they can just paint back over it, it’s not a big deal at all,” he wrote. Actually nice.

Thunberg also travele Fort McMurray over the weekend to film a documentary with the BBC. That meeting was kept secret.