In a world where leaders are acting like children, and children are acting like leaders, one sixteen year old girl is determined to make a difference and put an end to climate change. Her name is Greta Thunberg. Greta, an autistic student in Sweden, got her inspiration from the students in Parkland, Florida, after they decided they didn't want to return to a school where they did not feel safe. They rallied and created the March for Our Lives movement. In May 2018, Greta went on to write and win a climate change essay for a Swedish newspaper. Once the essay was published, an activist called Bo Thoren reached out to her and asked that she attended a few of his group "Fossil Free Dalsland" meetings. She did and then learned that students could strike for climate change. Greta couldn't get any students to express interest, so she decided to do it herself.
Sweden experienced their hottest summer in 262 years, in 2018. When it was time for Greta to return to school in August, she decided she was going to go on strike until the Swedish general election in September. Greta demanded that the Swedish government reduce carbon emissions in accordance with the Paris Agreement. She sat in front of the Riksdag (the supreme decision making body of Sweden.) She also handed out flyers that said "I'm doing this because you adults are shitting on my future."
According to the founder of a Swedish climate focused social media company, We Don't Have Time, Ingmar Rentzhog, Greta began getting social media attention when Rentzhog went to Greta's protest with a freelance photographer. Rentzhog posted pictures of Greta online. He then posted a video in English to YouTube which got 88,000 views. Once the general elections took place, Greta began to only strike on Fridays, and got students all around the globe to start protesting as well. After October 2018, Greta started making public speeches that were pretty high profile. Her social media started to grow more and more.
Greta is so determined to end climate change, that when she came to America to speak to Congress, she didn't fly here. She took a boat. That's right, she sailed the Atlantic to reduce carbon emissions from a plane. The yacht was propelled by wind, uses solar panels, and is water-driven for electricity generators. It took her two weeks to get here, but a statement was definitely made.
Greta's protests have four themes:
1. If we don't act on climate change now, humanity is going to face mass extinction.
2. She is holding the current generation of adults accountable, saying that they are stealing the future of the current younger generation.
3. We need to wake up and change, because very little is being done.
4. We have less than 12 years to undo our mistakes, which means current political leaders need to listen to scientists.
My favorite thing quote from Greta has to be when she was on the Daily Show with Trevor Noah. She says that American leaders see climate change as "something you either believe in or don't" where the rest of the world acknowledges that it is something that is actually happening..not an idea or theory we should contemplate.
Greta is proof that it doesn't matter your age, gender, ability, or nationality, if you fight hard enough, you can make a difference.
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