By Contributing Writer Caroline Quirk
What started with a 16-year-old organizing a school strike for climate, flourished into a huge environmental movement, seemingly overnight. Greta Thunberg is a 16 Swedish teenager who has taken the future of our climate crisis in her own hands.
Thunberg first learned about climate change when she was 8 years old and has since then become one of the only teenagers who has captivated the attention of adults and environmental activists all over the world.
Thunberg started her environmental activism career by holding a demonstration outside Swedish parliament with signs calling for stronger climate action. Her passion and drive inspired over 100,000 schoolchildren all across the globe to join the cause and spread the word that action needs to be taken.
Thunberg created a movement called ‘Fridays For Future’, where students and activists are encouraged to make and start school strikes. She encourages students to quietly sit or stand outside their closest town hall every Friday, holding signs with the hashtags ‘Fridaysforfuture’ and ‘Climatestrike’ and posting them to social media.
This is not the only exceptional act Thunberg has done to provoke interest and change. Due to climate change being her one and only priority, she has to go to the places that have the power and can actually benefit and take action on the intense and important issues.
Just two weeks ago Thunberg arrived in New York after a two-week journey sailing across the Atlantic Ocean to attend and speak at the United Nations Climate Action Summit. She decided to sail on a zero-emissions sailboat to avoid commercial jets and the greenhouse gas emissions that come with it, just like she made her traveling parents stop using commercial jets and airlines to commute to work.
Thunberg’s sailboat had no kitchen, heating, nor bathroom. All of its electricity was generated through solar panels and wind turbines. Not only was this purely sustainable, but it was meant to send a message, that everything can and should be done sustainably.
Merely by taking a sailboat across the Atlantic instead of taking convenient and quicker routes she proved that it is possible to choose the right way over the easy way, for a good cause.
While in the US Thunberg will participate in the UN Climate Action Summit as well as two global strikes. She also plans on stopping in other cities and countries along the way to speak and lead various strikes and protests.
Everyone, no matter what age, has something to learn from Greta. Through her many obstacles such as autism and depression she has persevered and become one of the most influential environmental activists in just over one year.
Climate change is serious, it is happening, and it won’t stop with just one teenager sailing across the Atlantic. The time to take action is now, there is always something an individual can do to help or spread awareness.