“If a few children can get headlines all over the world just by not going to school, then imagine what we could all do together if we really wanted to” (Thunberg).
Climate change has been a pressing issue for decades. Time and time again, this issue abruptly gains attention, only to gradually dissolve and fall behind in our daily lives. Recently, the attention given to climate change has risen due to the UN Summit, and specifically because of Greta Thunberg.
Who exactly is Greta Thunberg?
She is a climate change activist. A bright and knowledgeable character. Or simply, a 16-year-old girl who is giving her opinion in mass volumes. She even had the chance to critique the empty words of “particular” world leaders at the recent UN Climate Change summit. Greta held her head high as she poured her heart into her passionate speech. The link can be found here.
Her journey started back in August 2018 with the minor decision of skipping school. Greta had marched over to the Sweden Parliament intending to push for more to be done to fix climate change. This little protest sparked a chain reaction, which allowed Greta to speak on her beliefs in more prominent situations, including doing her own TED Talk. It was through this chain reaction that Greta was able to garner a mass following of those who agree with her strong stance of taking action against climate change.
A lot can be taken from the example Greta Thunberg has set. The active discussion of climate change is positive and with her push, it appears that our world leaders have no way to avoid the topic. Let’s reflect on the 2016 Paris Agreement, which included specific goals that the signatory nations had regarding the reduction of emissions. To help with the effort, over 180 nations signed onto this agreement. This was a push in the right direction, but it has not been effective. Since this agreement has been implemented, there has been a very slight change in emissions and the talk of this agreement has mostly been brushed under the rug.
Further, Greta exemplifies what a role model is. Keep in mind, she is only 16 years old and she has already talked in front of the UN. Personally, as an 18-year-old, I would see speaking your mind to the world’s most influential leaders as an intimidating task. Yet, she was able to articulate her thoughts so well – and with class too! As seen from the interviews she has done, her deterministic spirit is complemented by a down-to-earth and empathetic side, which allows her to connect to others on a personal and impactful level. I expect that the influence of Greta will only grow tremendously from here. I know I can take a few pointers from her on how to be more assertive.
Growing up, I was told that I could only make an impact when I got older. I was taught that a child or even a teenager had no right nor reason to even speak their minds on politics or overarching social issues that plague modern-day society. We were simply “too young” to construct our own perception of our surroundings and form rational opinions. This is not true and various individuals have broken this stigma, including Greta.
Craig Kielburger was only 12 when he realized the importance of volunteering and helping others live in better conditions. This was when he started his fundraising events and gradually worked his way into making Free the Children, an international charity organization which revolves around international efforts. Another example is Sahil Doshi, who made a name for himself when he invented PolluCell. This is a battery that relies on the consumption of waste materials and even carbon dioxide to function, thus providing an eco-friendly yet cost-effective solution for those in third-world countries.
Photo Source: @3M on Twitter
It just goes to show that this generation’s youth is truly capable of making a positive impact on the world.
Flanagan, Richard. “Greta Thunberg’s 495-Word UN Speech Points Us to a Future of Hope – or Despair | Richard Flanagan.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 25 Sept. 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/sep/26/greta-thunbergs-495-….
“How WE Charity Started.” WE Charity, https://www.wecharity.org/about-we-charity/our-story/.
Staff, TIME. “TIME Lists the 25 Most Influential Teens of 2018.” Time, Time, https://time.com/5463721/most-influential-teens-2018/.
Thomson Reuters Foundation. “TIMELINE – How Greta Thunberg’s Climate Strikes Became a Global Movement in a Year.” News.trust.org, http://news.trust.org/item/20190819233721-jaa90/.