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Earth Day 2021: Greta Thunberg testifies before U.S. Congress

World-renowned climate activist and Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg testified before U.S. Congress at an Earth Day hearing on April 22, 2021. 

Earth Day––established on April 22, 1970––is a historic annual demonstration of environmental protection and advocacy celebrated in over 193 nations. Globally, the day of observance is known as ‘International Mother Earth Day,’ coined by the United Nations General Assembly. 

Thunberg was named Time’s Person of the Year in 2019 for her monumental climate work. She spoke at a discussion entitled, “The Role of Fossil Fuel Subsidies in Preventing Action on the Climate Crisis” before the House Oversight Committee panel. The hearing was led by the new Chair Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) (@RoKhana), a climate advocate and strong proponent of the Green New Deal, which was spearheaded by Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) (@AOC). 

President Joe Biden additionally convened with 40 world leaders at the White House virtual climate summit on the same day. Mr. Biden recently rejoined the Paris climate agreement, and claims that the on-going climate crisis is among his highest priorities while in office. In addition, President Biden has also set a new robust environmental target for the United States: cut carbon emissions in half by 2030, and from the entire economy by 2050. In comparison, China announced it will aim to hit net-zero emissions by 2060. 

Thunberg is not a leader of any political party or advocacy group, nor a scientist or politician. However, despite her meek and young demeanour, her courageous yet simple acts of environmental concern have led to a new generational awakening and global following. She has already held famous addresses in front of Sweedish Parliament, as well as at the U.N. Climate Change Conference and Summit. Thunberg’s profound influence is sure to––and has already––put immense pressure on world leaders and major companies to take committed and responsible action. 

Various companies have declared new sustainability pledges in alignment with Earth Day 2021, including Amazon, who has announced several substantial new wind and solar projects. Moreover, BP is vowing to largely end its burning of natural gas with an estimated $1.3 billion plan on infrastructure to enable such changes. 

 In order to meet the U.N. target of lowering global temperatures to below 2 degrees Celsius, climate scientists warn that corporate and federal actions must be of revolutionary measure to stop catastrophic impacts from becoming irreversible within the next ten years.

 

Andi Kezh

Oglethorpe '23

Andi Kezh (she/her) is Trying Her Best™. She is majoring in Public Relations, with a double minor in Nonprofit Management and Urban Leadership. Andi is the senior editor of Her Campus at Oglethorpe, as well as the President of OU's Alpha Phi Omega Service Fraternity. You can find her writing and snacking (often simultaneously).
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