Who is Greta Thunberg?
Greta Thunberg is a 16-year-old Swedish activist who has been protesting climate change. She began her activism at the age of 15 and was encouraged by her parents to speak out about her beliefs. Her goal is to expose the world’s leaders for their inaction on climate change and inspire people to take action for future generations. Greta became known as ‘The Girl Who Fights Climate Change’ after giving a viral speech with over 1 million views on YouTube, where she called politicians “the adults” who are failing children today.
These three crucial facts will give you more insight into why this young girl has become an inspiration around the globe.
- Greta Thunberg was born on January 3rd, 2003.
- Her mother, Malena Ernman, is an opera singer who represented Sweden in the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest.
- Her father, Svante Thunberg, is a famous actor and a descendant of Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius.
Arrhenius was the first researcher to analyze elevated Carbon dioxide levels as a root cause of global warming. Despite sharing a lineage with a climate scientist, Greta’s father did not hint at an interest in environmentalism. However, climate change documentaries at school intrigued the eight-year Greta to learn more about the matter. With time, her curiosity amplified until it wholly seized her mind.
How Did Greta Become a Climate Change Activist?
As time moved, her interest in the subject became darker. She continued to think, perhaps overthink on the subject, as it is the story of one day at school that she was lost in a documentary long after it ended. But, too much thinking did compromise her health as she faced problems speaking in some situations and suffered medical conditions such as Asperger’s and selective mutism.
In the subsequent period, increasing anxiety and overthinking made it difficult for Greta to pursue her studies. Unfortunately, three years later, her mental condition deteriorated to the extent that she finally quit school.
It was this time Greta first time opened about her worries regarding climate change before her parents. By talking about her fears, she realized that she could make a difference and overcome depression.
What Happened When Greta Thunberg Went Public?
So her next step was to go public, and she started participating in climate-related competitions. At 15, Greta participated in a climate writing competition held by “Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet.”
- Her essay entitled ‘We know — and we can do something now’ landed among the winners.
- Her writings were disseminated in a newspaper, which inspired many people and brought her great popularity.
- Thunberg’s activism started when she encouraged her parents to adopt certain lifestyle choices to lessen their carbon footprint.
- In August 2018, Greta began spending most of her time outside the Parliament, asking for swift actions on the climate crisis.
During all that effort, an idea of a school strike reverberated in her mind. She started engaging more people to join her movement, and within a few days, she began drawing media attention. More people, teachers, and parents began joining the eco-warrior’s fight against climate change.
In September 2018, Thunberg initiated a regular ‘strike’ every Friday to protest against climate issues. She also invited other students to join her weekly movement named “Fridays for Future.”
In the next 21 days, more people stepped on the board. At this point, people started recognizing her name, and she was also invited to make a speech at a People’s Climate March rally in front of thousands of people.
In November 2018, Greta began proclaiming her views to a broader audience spreading to the whole continent. This mass effort resulted in over 17000 students from 24 countries participating in Friday School Strikes. In February 2019, the protest encompassed more than 30 countries. Thunberg’s weekly strikes involved millions of people from Sweden to Brazil, India to the United States.
As a result of her persistent efforts, she involved over two million people across the world. In March 2019, Greta was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for highlighting climate change on every forum.
Greta Thunberg is a role model for adults because of her passionate and expressive approach to dealing with environmental crises. Not only Greta, but we all need to struggle as we are the sole contributor to the climate crisis.
How Did Greta Thunberg’s Activism Quest Start?
On January 20, 2018, Greta Thunberg participated in the “Women’s March” in Washington D.C., a significant event of Climate Marches around the world. She became an icon for young people and environmentalists across the globe.
In September 2017, she was named as one of BBC News’ 100 Women of the year; On November 23, 2017, Time magazine included her name in its last minute entry list for Person of The Year award; In 2019 Forbes included her in its annual list of ’30 Under 30′, to highlight diverse talents from across the world, under 30 years old. Today Greta is a student at Malmo University studying International Relations and Environmental Science.
How Does Greta Thunberg Describe Herself?
She came to the world’s attention after skipping school in August 2018 to protest against Sweden’s policies on climate change. She later became a prominent global advocate for action on climate change and has spoken at some of the most significant events organized by environmental activists, including The Extinction Rebellion protests in London.
She held speeches at COP24 in Poland (in December 2018) – where she bravely confronted Donald Trump on climate change – and at several colleges and universities across Europe, the U.K. & the USA (In March 2019).
In April, New York Times published an interview with her and other youth-focused environment-related articles resulting in Greta’s international praise.
She was invited to the “Youth Assembly” at COP24 for her non-violent civil disobedience against the Swedish government’s support of fossil fuels, during which she said, “the adults have failed us.” She has threatened that if no action is taken on climate change, she will stop going to school as part of a global school strike in September 2019.
The 2018 Nobel Peace Prize winner Nadia Murad and fellow activist Malala Yousafzai hailed Thunberg’s low carbon emissions and described her as an inspirational figure.
How Has The Media Covered Greta Thunberg?
She appeared in The New York Times, BBC News, Vogue Magazine, Teen Vogue, and many other media organizations across various parts of the world.
Many politicians have supported Greta, including U.S. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and former Vice President Al Gore. They contacted her and invited her for a meeting at his new climate change institute in Nashville.
“Al Gore” on Twitter: “I just met with @Greta Thunberg! She is inspiring & I’m honored to call her my friend. Our kids will lead the way forward.”
In an interview with CNN, she said she would continue the school strike until Sweden’s leaders agree to aim for zero carbon emissions. She said she would continue this until her demands are met and called for the Swedish government to discuss environmental issues more with youth. It was reported that Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Lofven had ruled out discussing her silent protest during his next meeting with her.
- On 3 October 2018, she spoke at the One Young World Summit in Ottawa, Canada.
- She called on governments worldwide to “stop talking Idiocracy” and act quickly to curb climate change.
Greta Thunberg started the school climate strikes by going on a solo strike outside of the Swedish parliament building in August 2018 with placards such as “There is no time for this,” referring to Sweden’s current greenhouse gas emission levels. The first strike was planned on Fridays at 3 PM and last five minutes, and each week there will be another strike until Sweden’s leaders take action to meet her demands.
- On 13 November, she went with other Swedish strikers to meet with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and brought up climate change.
- In September 2018, it was reported that several top European Union officials are concerned about Sweden’s ability to make a difference on climate change since they have had major problems transitioning over to renewable energy such as wind and solar power.
In December 2018, it was announced that Thunberg would give a speech on 30 January at the European Parliament in Brussels during its plenary session. She will address MEPs from all political groups and assess the progress made by the 28 member states since their leaders vowed two years ago to cut carbon emissions and raise energy efficiency levels.
In 2019, Greta Thunberg was awarded the Sydney Peace Prize due to her work on climate change. Also, in 2019, she was named one of eight children and young people who would be invited every year to speak at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP24).
What else has Greta Thunberg been doing?
Before the onset of COVID -19, Greta drew millions of people worldwide to join her climate change movement. However, since the world plunged into COVID 19 crisis, all public demonstrations came to an end. People prefer staying at home, and unfortunately, issues such a climate change have been pushed to the side.
But these restrictions could not dither Greta from her ambition. Like the other activists, Thunberg’s switched to online platforms to keep up the pressure on the world’s leaders to deal with the climate crisis.
Not only climate change, but the Swedish activist has also actively been advocating children’s rights since the beginning of last year. Greta also filed a complaint against the world’s leaders at the U.N. to allege their climate crisis policies. She said that they are responsible for putting the lives of children at risk by neglecting the long-awaited issues of climate change.
“You are failing us,” she said in her speech at U.N. Climate Action Summit before announcing the complaint.
The complaint charged that five countries, including Brazil, Germany, Turkey, France, and Argentina, are not meeting their climate goals. Thunberg and her fellow activists demanded these countries immediately meet the climate objectives under the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement.
In April 2020, Greta Thunberg initiated a child rights campaign collaborating with the Danish NGO Human Act. During the movement, she focused on addressing the pandemic caused by problems for children, including food shortage, healthcare, and lost education.
Thunberg also donated her $100,000 prize that she won from a Danish Foundation to UNICEF to support lockdown affected children. The donation will also help UNICEF launch emergency programs to provide masks, gloves, hygiene kits, and protective equipment, crucial for fighting Coronavirus.
Greta’s climate activism did not directly influence any government’s policies regarding the climate crisis. But her struggles for drawing the world’s leaders’ attention towards global warming are acclaimed on every forum. At the end of 2019, a science magazine, “The Scientist,” said that thanks to Greta’s unprecedented efforts, 2019 proved to be a significant success in stirring people on climate change.
What are your thoughts on Greta’s mission on Climate change? Let us know in the comment section.