They were bound to have a field day, weren’t they... the trolls and haters who see anything Greta Thunberg says as a cue for a pile-on? That was almost inevitable when the Swedish activist took to the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury to deliver a speech. It barely mattered what she said, or how she delivered it. The knives were out already.

Much of the negative reaction was depressingly familiar. Many seem to find it intolerable that a 19-year-old girl should have a voice on the world-stage, and certainly not such an angry one. The fact that she is no longer a child, but a young woman, still speaking powerfully, seems to leave them even more infuriated.

When Thunberg stood on the Pyramid stage, she followed in the footsteps of David Attenborough, who similarly delivered a surprise speech in 2019. The television presenter was then celebrating the fact that Glastonbury had gone plastic-free and that more than a million plastic bottles of water had not been drunk that year as a result. But where Attenborough triggered a deluge chiefly of affection, adulation and respect, the reaction to Thunberg has been more mixed. Some of it, of course, is admiration – from those who were glad to see the activist speaking out again - but there was also, out there, a misogyny-tinged ridicule and rage.

It’s worth comparing the reaction to these twin icons of climate activism. For, while the only chink in the applause for Attenborough was a few articles about the amount of rubbish left after the plastic-free festival, this young woman has not been accorded such respect.

There’s a playbook at work here in the trolling of Thunberg. The method seems to be to try to dismiss her message, and impact, by either implying some kind of hypocrisy in her own behaviour or those who applaud her, or mocking the extent to which she goes to save the planet. “Did it walk there?” one Twitter user joked.

A wave of tweets also drew attention to the litter left by Glastonbury-festival goers – as if this were somehow her fault or responsibility. Most of these featured an image taken from the post-festival Pyramid-stage, carpeted in multi-coloured rubbish. The only thing was, that picture was taken several years ago.

That’s not to say there wasn’t rubbish at Glastonbury this year. Articles covering the clear-up reveal that there clearly was, just as there had been back in 2019. But the tweets were dishonest. Their implication was also clear. What the critics are trying to say is that Glastonbury festival-goers, and even perhaps Thunberg herself, are hypocrites, who in the whirl of a good party, forget all their good intentions and trash the place.

I’m not saying the litter isn’t a problem. It clearly is – and it’s shocking to learn that organiser Glastonbury Emily Eavis felt forced, because so many people simply ditch tents, to tell people to take “everything home with them”. But the existence of this waste doesn’t mean that Thunberg is failing as a messenger.

I find this a depressing reminder of the way that people are always on the hunt these days for ways to shame others, or identify the ways in which they are hypocrites. Yet the real problem is that the systems we live in make hypocrites of us all, even when we are trying to do our best.

Only those who have gone off-grid and outside the system escape this. But they fail too. Because they, of course, have dropped out of being part of the wider global change that might save us from the worst climate trajectories.

Some Thunberg-critics also seem to have felt that a climate-activist like her, since she is no musician, has no place at such a festival. But Thunberg is exactly the kind of non-music icon for which Glastonbury was made. The festival was founded in 1970 as a way to build support for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, and has remained political since. If not Glastonbury, where are the gatherings, outside international climate conferences like COP26, where people are going to hear these things?

As Thunberg said on Sunday: “These crises are the biggest story in the world. And it must be spoken as far and as wide as possible, as far as our voices can carry and even further still. It must be told in the articles, newspapers, movies and songs; at breakfast tables, lunch meetings, family gatherings; in lifts and bus stops; and in rural shops … and music festivals like Glastonbury.”

Some criticise Glastonbury for welcoming such talk. A “party political protest for the woke” is how one person described the festival. By woke, they must mean those that either want a better world, or to save the one we have. Thunberg, with all her history of commitment is a reminder that the climate movement is about more than virtue-signalling. It’s no rock concert. It’s graft –to be admired, appreciated and imitated.