Greta Thunberg

Emily Garry, Staff Writer

On September 23, 2019, Greta Thunberg, the sixteen-year-old climate activist, sat amongst the members of the UN Climate Summit. She delivered a powerful speech that challenged the actions of the world’s most well known politicians and invoked an overwhelming amount of support from the youth of the world.

Greta Thunberg’s journey in climate activism began in her home city of Stockholm, Sweden. She began her movement by skipping school on Fridays, standing in front of the Swedish Parliament building holding a sign saying “Skolstrejk för klimatet ” which means “School strike for climate” in english. Soon, her ideas were heard by her fellow students, and their school climate strike known as “Fridays for Future” was born. 

Sticking with her actions preventing climate crisis, Thundberg traveled to the UN Climate Summit in New York via a sixty-foot yacht powered by solar panels and underwater turbines. She left Plymouth, UK on August 14 and sailed for fifteen days across the Atlantic, arriving in New York City on August 28. 

Upon her arrival at the summit, Thunberg spoke in front of world leaders and voiced her disappointment in her adult audience, “You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words and yet I’m one of the lucky ones.” As Thunberg’s movement is mainly supported by the youth of the world she called out the older politicians on their lack of action in preventing climate change, repeatedly asking them, “How dare you?” 

Thunberg’s speech caused an uproar of support for her strike on social media with #Greta, #FridaysForFuture,#ClimateStrike, and other related hashtags trending worldwide on Twitter. Young people all over the world have also shown their passion for the climate movement by participating in a global climate strike on September 20, 2019 with participants in NYC, London, and more. Currently, Thunberg and 15 other teens have filed a lawsuit against Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany, and Turkey for their contributions to carbon pollution and Thunberg is continuing to take the world by storm with her powerful voice. 

While Thunberg did receive a lot of support for her actions at the UN Climate Summit, a number of people didn’t completely agree with her. Russian president Vladimir Putin didn’t  “share the common excitement about the speech by Greta Thunberg.” At an energy forum he was attending he went on to say: “No one has explained to Thunberg that the modern world is complex and different … people in Africa or in many Asian countries want to live at the same wealth level as in Sweden.” Putin also added that adults should be wary of bringing their young children into “extreme situations” like these. Another, more well known presence in America also commented on Thunberg herself; President Donald Trump said Thunberg seemed to be, “a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!” on his Twitter profile. Many supporters of Thunberg believed that Trump was mocking her but Thunberg herself responded by updating her Twitter bio to say: “A very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future.”

It’s certainly arguable that the main critics of Thunberg are powerful politicians and this movement is one mainly fueled by the passion of teens around the world. For now Thunberg is continuing her fight to stop climate change and was even nominated for the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize. To end, this quote by Thunberg perfectly describes her mission and ambition for this movement. “We will not let you get away with this. Right here, right now is where we draw the line. The world is waking up. And change is coming, whether you like it or not.”