Climate change activist Greta Thunberg is making history. At 15 years old, Thunberg began sitting outside the Swedish parliament every Friday to protest against climate change. After her protest gained media coverage, it led to the school strike for climate movement in November 2018. This movement is about students who come together all across the globe during school days to protest against climate change.
On March 15, students in 112 countries protested against climate change across the globe. Greta Thunberg’s activism has influenced other students to realize that their future is in danger if they do not take action now. In response to the growing movement, Thunberg said, “It’s amazing,” she says. “It’s more than 71 countries and more than 700 places, and counting. It’s increasing very much now, and that’s very, very fun.”
Last summer, northern Europe experienced one of the hottest summers. Thunberg knew that this was a sign that she needed to do something. On August 20, 2018, she sat outside the Swedish parliament with a sign that read, “School strike for the climate.” On the first day, she was alone, but as days passed by, more and more people joined her in the movement against climate change. She pledged to sit outside the parliament every Friday until the Swedish government’s policies align with the Paris Climate Agreement.
Before becoming an inspiration for others to join her in the protest against climate change, Thunberg was just like any other student, going to school and coming home every day. At school, when she was taught about the growing threats of climate change, she became worried and could not forget about the images of plastic in the ocean that she saw. According to The Guardian, she said that while other students in her class moved on, she could not move on and became depressed. Her parents sat her down and she told them that she was depressed because adults did not seem to take the threats of climate change seriously.
Thunberg has also persuaded her parents to take part in her stance against climate change. Her mother is a well-known opera singer in Sweden and she gave up flying which had a significant impact on her career. Her father became a vegetarian. Her parents have become supportive of their daughter’s actions and believe that she can do anything.
In December, Thunberg gave a speech at the UN Climate Change COP24 Conference. In the speech, she said, “Our biosphere is being sacrificed so that rich people in countries like mine can live in luxury. It is the sufferings of the many which pay for the luxuries of the few.” She further added, “We can’t solve a crisis without treating it as a crisis. We need to keep the fossil fuels in the ground, and we need to focus on equity. And if solutions within the system are so impossible to find, maybe we should change the system itself.”
Emory University student Justin Kim has stated, “I think that it’s very spectacular for someone of her age to address problems such as climate change in the face of world leaders. She is very brave and dedicated to the cause, and I hope that world leaders can use her as a model to emulate their efforts to fight climate change.”
As the threat of climate change continues to grow, we need to realize that change begins with us.
Jennie Kim, Grade 11
Immaculate Heart High School