At 16, most parents can’t get their kids to take their heads out of their phones. The younger generation is perpetually addicted to technology, and all they seem to care about is clothes, entertainment, or challenging their peers. Well, we aren’t dissing the entire generation. There are teenage athletes, young chess players, spelling bee winners, and geniuses getting scholarships, and then there’s this 16-year-old Swedish school girl, Greta Thunberg who is talking about climate change and is now being counted in the list of most powerful world leaders! Isn’t that incredible?
While most of us are struggling with our mundane daily lives, and finding flaws where there aren’t any, investing in stuff we don’t really need, polluting the earth every day, and mindlessly depleting everything, a mere 16 year old person understands why climate change is scary, and she’s fighting with all her might to make powerful countries do the needful for change. Our team is so impeccably proud of this girl, who is standing up for change! Let’s read about her and what she is doing.
Greta Thunberg Is Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize, And She Could Be the Youngest Winner In History!
Greta Thunberg is a Swedish schoolgirl who began protesting at the age of 15 for the alarming change in climate and demanded immediate action for the same. She protested outside the Swedish parliament in her home country – Sweden, staging her first ‘skolstrejk för klimatet’ (school strike for climate change). Inspired by a previous school class walk-out, in Florida against US gun laws, Greta decided to protest herself in order to gain the attention of authorities. Her parents weren’t too sure of Greta’s move, her classmates weren’t willing to join her either, so she went all by herself, on her cycle, with a hand-painted sign and climate change fact sheets. She didn’t get attention at first, but he continued strikes finally saw light of the day when the Swedish national election happened and, slowly people started to join her.
Eventually, Greta moved globally after the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP24) in December the same year. Her personal activism began in August 2018, when the Skolstrejk för klimatet (“School strike for the climate”) protesting outside the Swedish parliament in Stockholm started attracting media attention, even though Sweden has already enacted “the most ambitious climate law in the world” – to be carbon neutral by 2045.
Listen to her entire U.N speech here.
According to reports, “On 15 March 2019, an estimated 1.4 million students in 112 countries around the world joined her call in striking and protesting”.
Greta has received several awards and recognition in the International media for her activism. In March 2019, three members of the Norwegian parliament nominated her for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Greta was named in the TIME 100 list of the world’s most influential people in April this year. In May, she was cited as one the World’s most Influential Next Generation Leaders by the TIME Magazine.
Till date, activist Malala Yousafzai is the youngest recipient of the Nobel Prize in any category. Malala, who is now 21, was 17 years old when she became a Nobel Prize laureate, for fighting for women’s right to education by standing against Talibanis in Pakistan.
When Greta first learnt about the climate crisis, she couldn’t digest the fact that adults weren’t doing enough about it. In a column for The Guardian, Greta wrote – “Our house is on fire. I am here to say, our house is on fire”.
“Adults keep saying: ‘We owe it to the young people to give them hope.’ But I don’t want your hope. I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. And then I want you to act.”
She initiated viral hashtags like #FridaysForFuture and #climatestrike to protest against the lack of action on the climate crisis.
On 20 August 2018, Greta who just entered ninth grade, decided to not attend school until the 2018 Sweden general election on 9 September after heat waves and wildfires hit Sweden. She demanded that the Swedish government reduce carbon emissions in accordance with the Paris Agreement. After the general elections, she continued to strike only on Fridays, gaining worldwide attention. She inspired school students across the globe to take part in student strikes. As a result of her never-give-up attitude, by December 2018 she had more than 20,000 students on her side with strikes held in at least 270 cities.
Greta promptly says that she’s nothing but a messenger who is telling the world what scientists have already been warning about, without anyone paying much heed. She says that students would no longer have to leave school to protest only if we started listening to scientists, but the current political situation is not letting things work.
Eventually, Greta took her activism from solitary protesting to taking part in demonstrations throughout Europe; this included making several high profile public speeches; using her increasing number of followers on social media platforms to convey messages. She still stages her regular protests outside the Swedish parliament every Friday, some students join her occasionally. They might not see Greta’s will to make a solid change, but in-spite that, she refuses to stop.
Greta already has 1.3 million followers on Instagram where she documents her international travel and campaigning.
Her activism and will to mark a long term change was even acknowledged by UN General Secretary António Guterres who has endorsed the school strikes initiated by Greta. He even admitted to the fact that “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.”
You can go through more of her speeches here.
Read this interesting piece on 9 of the Best Quotes From Greta Thunberg’s Speech to the House of Parliament.
So, what are you doing this Friday?