I’m sure you would have recently read or heard about the School Strike for Climate – an international movement of students making a decision not to attend their classes to instead take part in demonstrations surrounding Government inaction to prevent Climate Change.
These demonstrations began largely due to the activism of Greta Thunberg, who stood outside the Swedish Parliament with a sign reading: Skolstrejk för klimatet (‘School Strike for the Climate’) in August 2018. Since Greta’s activism attracted media attention, it is estimated that over 1.4 million students have joined her in demonstrations and protests across the world.
So who is Greta, and why should we care?
Greta Thunberg is a 16 year old climate activist from Sweden.
But don’t let that fool you. Greta is extremely switched on and has a lot to say – and very rightly so.
When she was 8 years old, Greta realised that Climate Change was a real and worrying issue for the planet, and was concerned that there seemed to be next to no real action being taken to prevent it. She has even admitted to insisting her family become vegan and quit flying to reduce their Carbon Footprint.
Greta credits the Parkland School Activists in Florida for giving her the inspiration to begin her School Climate Strike.
Along with her activism outside Parliament, Greta has also spoken to countless groups of people across the world, including at the Houses of Parliament in London, The United Nations at their Climate Change Summit and TEDxStockholm.
Greta concluded her TEDx talk by saying:
‘We can’t change the world by playing by the rules, because the rules have to be changed.’
Greta has won countless awards since beginning her activism journey, including being nominated by three members of the Norwegian Parliament as a candidate for this years’ Nobel Peace Prize. Time Magazine named Greta one of the 25 most influential young people in 2018, and has also received the German Goldene Kamera ‘Special Climate Protection’ award.
Greta’s activism has also been widely accepted and endorsed by the United Nations, with General Secretary Anotonio Guterres admitting:
‘My generation has failed to respond properly to the dramatic challenge of climate change. This is deeply felt by young people. No wonder they are angry.’
Climate Change is very real, and has already caused irreparable damage to the planet. Some scientists go as far as to say the planet only has 12 years left before we hit the tipping point in global temperature rises.
Climate Change isn’t some far-fetched theory, but a solid, evidence-based fact. NASA has stated:
‘Scientific evidence for warming of the climate system is unequivocal.’
Regardless, there are still some Global Leaders that prove difficult, with Donald Trump insisting: ‘…the concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make US manufacturing non-competitive.’ Trump also backed up his well-publicized skepticism by pulling America out of the Paris Climate Agreement.
However, Greta Thunberg has, with the support of the scientific community, brought the issue of Climate Change into the spotlight, and young people are aware – now more than ever – of the impact of their predecessors, whether those predecessors choose to admit it or not.
Climate Change isn’t going away, and in the words of Science Magazine:
‘The enormous grassroots mobilization of the youth climate movement … shows that young people understand the situation. We approve and support their demand for rapid and forceful action … Only if humanity acts quickly can we limit global warming, halt the ongoing mass extinction of animal and plant species, and preserve the natural basis for the food supply and well-being of present and future generations.’
We need people like Greta Thunberg, now more than ever. The planet only has so much time left to act, and in her words:
‘I want you to act as if the house is on fire.’
The next major climate strike to take place globally is scheduled for the 24th of May 2019.
See what the world is saying about Greta Thunberg: