Who is Greta Thunberg? Everything you need to know about this Swedish environmental activist
Greta Thunberg is a name that doesn’t need any introduction now. Her efforts are being appreciated all across the world. A video in which a 16-year-old is raising an important question went viral. She is asking people why students have to come out for the environmental cause. She left her school to act upon the alarming condition of the environment. Greta Thunberg is a Swedish environmental activist, who came into limelight in 2018 when she inspired an international youth climate strike in various countries.
Who is Greta Thunberg?
Greta Thunberg was born to Svante Thunberg, an actor and mother Malenda Ernman, an opera singer who represented her country in the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest. Thunberg learnt about global warming first at the age of 8 when she saw documentaries about climate change at school. She got affected a lot more than the other students through those documentaries. She said, “When the documentary finished, other students forgot it and moved on to other things but I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I got stuck on those pictures.”
Greta has put this down to having Aspergers and selective mutism, an illness which can cause overthinking and anxiety. We, normal people, hear and see about climate change, but still, end up buying things which are dangerous for an environment like, single-use plastics. Greta was different she couldn’t just sit back and live a normal life with her studies. She went into depression at the age of 11, however, climate change wasn’t the sole reason, but it definitely played its part.
Greta Thunberg left school and started influencing others to make a change
She stopped going to school, and then, her parents got worried and asked what’s happening with her. She said, “she is worried about the climate crisis.” Her parents understood her concern and she gained a sense of release from talking about it. By then, she had left meat and was consuming totally vegan-diet.
Greta soon realized that she could influence others in making a difference by talking about her worries. This was the beginning of the movement that she has created. From the struggle of depression, she brought the spark of activism. The next step involved going public. The young environmental activist entered a climate writing competition in May 2018 at the age of 15. She won the competition and her essay was published in the newspaper.
Bo Thoren, an activist who focused on how young people can contribute, approached Greta and inspired her to strike at school. Greta did her first school strike on August 20, 2018. She skipped her school and sat down outside the Parliament of Sweden. With posters and flyers, she went on to emphasize the facts about climate change and global warming.
Thunberg was made the poster-girl for climate change awareness program “school strike for climate change” and the poster was posted by Swedish eco-warrior, Ingmar Rentzhog.
She went on to doing strike for 21 straight days and gained supports from other people. Journalists came to see her strike. Her mother then shared her daughter’s story on social media where she had thousands of followers as a famous opera singer.
The strike of Greta inspired thousands of students across the world to join her #FridaysforFuture demonstrations by skipping school on every Fridays.
The 16-year-old led the world to it’s biggest climate change strike
Thunberg was then asked to give a speech in front of thousands of people at People’s Climate March rally. She made the speech which was filmed by many people. Videos went viral and soon her school strikes went viral. A global school strike was called on Friday, 15th March, where about 1.6 million people took part all over the world. About 2,233 cities and 128 countries took part in the strike. It was the biggest single day of climate action to date. This record was overshadowed by the recent climate change strike on September 20, 2019, where more than 4 million people participated which spread to more than 4,500 locations in more than 150 countries.
She was then called to address the assembled world leaders on 23 September 2019, at the 2019 UN Climate Action Summit held in New York. Greta Thunberg denied going from a plane and sailed across the Atlantic in a “Zero Carbon” Yacht to attend the UN Climate summit. It took her two weeks to cross the ocean. She accused world leaders of stealing her childhood and dreams by their inaction on climate change. Her speech opened with an emotional and impassioned speech which was widely covered by the global media.
She said, “How dare you! You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. And yet I’m one of the lucky ones. People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are at the beginning of mass extinction. And all you can talk about is money and fairytales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!”
We don’t want a quiet, socially awkward and different girl’s effort, going in vain. She might get a Noble Peace Prize in future but we want people to remember, what she is standing for? Why it’s time to understand the seriousness of climate change & global warming and take action against it.
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