Greta Thunberg and Her Fight Against Climate Change

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Greta Thunberg and Her Fight Against Climate Change

(Photo; Oliver Douliery/Getty Images)

(Photo; Oliver Douliery/Getty Images)

(Photo; Oliver Douliery/Getty Images)

(Photo; Oliver Douliery/Getty Images)

Natalie Kees

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Greta Thunberg has been making waves as a global climate activist for the huge movement she has led to save the Earth. She has used the power of this generation’s youth–her voice and everyone else’s–to address an issue that has long been on the sidelines when it shouldn’t have been. Climate change has become more of a relevant and pressing issue because the work of Greta and all those she has inspired to take action.

Greta has spoken at numerable events across Europe, including at the World Economic Forum in Davos back in January. She arrived by train, even though many delegates arrived by private jet. She was blunt and to the point, arguing that many delegates had been prioritizing increasing personal wealth rather than considering the welfare of the planet and future generations. She has also spoken at the European Parliament and Austrian World Summit. In June, she announced she would travel to the United Nations climate summits at the United Nations in New York. However, she did not fly, but traveled in a high-speed racing yacht, equipped with solar panels and underwater turbines which generate zero carbon emissions. After a voyage of 15 days, she arrived in New York on August 28, 2019. On September 16, she met former President Barack Obama as part of her visit to Washington, DC, to promote environmental issues. Obama praised Thunberg, saying to her:  “You and me, we’re a team.”

The effect of Greta Thunberg’s actions having been radiating all throughout. All over the world, youths are protesting the actions of previous generations on the environment and demanding that they do something to fix the problem. One of the largest protests were led by Thunberg herself in New York City after she attended the UN Climate Summit.  Later on in December, she plants to take train with her father to another UN climate conference in Chile. She is taking a break from school to spend a year campaigning against environmental destruction. 

This all started when Greta was 8 and was  just learning about climate change. Because of the anger and helplessness she felt bout the matter, she did not talk much in what was called ‘Selective mutism’. She was also diagnosed with Asperger’s  syndrome. People with Asperger’s lack social communication and can end up with repetitive patterns of speech and behavior. Thunberg says she doe not enjoy chit chat and for many years at school she was very quiet and shy. However, her personality has been, in many ways, a key aspect as her role as social activist speaking all sorts of truths that many people do want to hear. Her father, Svante Thunberg, remembered how she was very persistent with her innumerable arguments, data, and graphs. He remembers it got to a point where “…over the years, I ran out of arguments.” Her parents were also happy to see that her activism was a way out of her depression.

In May 2018, (when Thunberg was 15) she won an essay writing competition on the environment held by a Swedish newspaper. This led to her attending meetings with an environmental group called Fossil Free Dalsland, who were also committed to taking action against climate change. Thunberg decided her contribution to the group could be to lead a school strike to raise awareness. She later said that she got the idea for a school strike from the group of American students who refused to return to school after another fatal shooting at Parkland, Florida earlier in the year. Later, Thunberg went on strike every Friday, travelling to the Swedish Parliament to protest a lack of action against climate change. Despite taking one day off a week for protests, she caught up with her homework on other days. Her schoolwork combined with activism, such as writing speeches means she often works 12-15 hour days. Her protest soon spread on social media to other school children of her age. It also received substantial media coverage as school strikes quickly spread across the world and made front page headlines.

 

Thunberg says that she sees things in black and white–especially the truth of the real danger facing the planet. She said that the only thing that helped her to overcome her depression was to protest and speak out about climate change and environmental issues. Furthermore, she said that she cannot let things go like other people, but she feels the inner drive to keep speaking about climate change, no matter how awkward or difficult it proves to be. Thunberg believes that it is important everyone makes choices which help to look after the environment–she is a vegan herself in an effort to reduce harmful emissions and carbon footprint. She also pressured her parents to become vegan.

Greta Thunberg has become an  international symbol for the fight to combat climate change. When asked about when she knew that she wanted to take action in the form of  protests and activism, Greta says that initially, the target of her activism was her parents.  “That’s when I kind realized I could make a difference,” Greta remarked, “…and how I got out of that depression was that I thought: it is just a waste of time feeling this way because I can do so much good with my life.” She continues to do that everyday as she pushes the fight to save the Earth–making people all around the world wake up and go to action.