The current generation is digging the world’s grave. Greta Thunberg is a 17-year-old environmental activist fighting to bring attention to the world’s climate change crisis. Greta Tintin Eleonora Ernman Thunberg was born to Svante Thunberg and Malena Ernman in Stockholm, Sweden on January 3, 2003. As a young girl, Greta learned about climate change and was baffled at why no one was doing anything to fix it. Finally, in 2018 she took matters into her own hands; she started a strike on her school to protest climate change. This moment is when her journey began.
The school strike grew in popularity and because of this Greta Thunberg got the privilege to speak at the 2018 United Nations Climate Change Conference. The impact of her speech, How Dare You, started more student strikes around the world. The support for climate change multiplied overnight.
Although Greta wasn’t supported by her family when starting her journey, they stand behind her now. Greta’s campaign has gained international awareness, and she will even be featured in a Hulu documentary that will be released later this year. Greta Thunberg is the face of climate change, but what made her become so influential? Greta suffers from OCD and selective mutism. She has stated that her other illness, Asperger’s syndrome, is her “superpower” because it helps her to see the world in black and white. “There are no grey areas when it comes to climate change” (Thunberg).
Even with all the awareness her campaign is spreading, Greta believes there is still not enough being done. The change must come now. She says what the world is currently working towards is not enough. Cutting emissions in half over a 10 year period is only giving the world “a 50% chance of staying below 1.5 degrees [Celsius]” (Thunberg, How Dare You).
Greta does not only express that the government must change its views on climate change, but she also calls for individual change. Reducing the carbon footprint of all persons would improve the outlook of the world immensely.
Greta is not only talking about individual change, she is demonstrating it. Greta has been showing the world that human life can go on without putting out a ton of emissions. For example, when traveling the world Greta boycotts airplanes and steps towards an eco-friendly alternative. While traveling Greta has been using a solar and wind-powered boat. It took her 15 days to travel from Plymouth, UK to New York, USA.
During her How Dare You speech Greta made many bold words calling for change:
“You say you hear us and that you understand the urgency. But no matter how sad and angry I am, I do not want to believe that. Because if you really understood the situation and still kept on failing to act, then you would be evil. And that I refuse to believe.”
“This is all wrong. I shouldn’t be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you!”
“You are failing us. But the young people are starting to understand your betrayal. The eyes of all future generations are upon you. And if you choose to fail us, I say: We will never forgive you.”
The activist is creating a tsunami of support for climate change, but will it be enough to save future generations? Our generation?
To watch her speech or read the transcript from her UN speech follow this link: https://www.npr.org/2019/09/23/763452863/transcript-greta-thunbergs-speech-at-the-u-n-climate-action-summit
Calculate your carbon footprint: https://www.carbonfootprint.com/calculator.aspx
Greta Thunberg’s awards:
Right Livelihood award
International children’s peace prize
Glamour award for the revolutionary
Ambassador for conscience award
Rachel Carson Prize
Time’s person of the year
Nordic council environment prize
Greta Thunberg’s books:
No one is too small to make a difference
Scenes from the heart
Co-authors: Beata Thunberg, Svante Thunberg, Malena Ernman