The Girl Who Rallies the World Against Climate Change


Gwendolyn Seto

Last September marked a monumental moment regarding activism against global climate change. Millions of people across the globe, ranging from over a hundred countries, participated in climate strikes: likely the largest climate strikes to ever exist.

The mastermind behind all of this? A 16-year-old girl.

Enter Greta Thunberg, a young Swedish environmental activist. She first learned about the problem of global climate change when she was 8 years old, and has been passionate about it ever since. In August 2018, she began striking outside the Swedish parliament building. This marked the beginning of her activism, which eventually turned into a global phenomenon.

So what makes Thunberg particularly captivating to such a large audience? Some believe that it is due to her way of speaking: she provides a fresh new voice by being very careful about word choice and presenting herself in a transparent way. Her youth, as a teenager, also enchants the world. And perhaps arguably most important of all, her actions follow her words. Thunberg watches out for her carbon footprint by not eating meat and avoiding airplane usage. In fact, to travel across the Atlantic Ocean, she sailed across in a boat powered by solar energy and underwater turbines, thus causing little strain upon the environment.

Greta Thunberg’s slogans include “School Strike for Climate” and “Fridays For Future”. She was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize last March and spoke to renown influential leaders such as Pope Francis and Barack Obama, both of whom support her cause.

All of this culminated in a recent speech she gave at the United Nations Climate Action Summit. In front of world leaders, she spread her fiery and passionate message, stating powerful lines that drew the media’s attention. “You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words,” she said, going on to criticize leaders about focusing too much on economic growth rather than the state of the environment. Thunberg is not afraid of shaming politicians and does not back away from the truth; instead, she harnesses the power of honesty to build up a compelling argument.

Her stance has drawn criticism from various prominent authorities, including the Russian President Vladimir Putin, who stated that he did not “…share the common excitement about the speech”. In his point of view, Thunberg understood little of the “complex” world around her. 

Similarly, the American President Donald Trump mocked her in a tweet, and Maxime Bernier (a Canadian Member of Parliament) called her mentally unstable.

Despite it all, Greta Thunberg is continuing her protests and rallies, along with the support of millions of others who have joined the cause. The spark of environmental concern has been lit by a young woman, and the fire will rage on and on, fueled by scientific evidence and the surrounding community of dedicated activists. There’s no stopping it.