Greta Thunberg | Izzy Ster

Greta Thunberg

By Izzy Ster

"She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. It's so nice to see!" This was Donald Trump’s reaction to Swedish 16-year-old climate and environmental activist Greta Thunberg’s speech at the United Nations climate action summit earlier this week. In her speech, Thunberg uses pointed language to censure the UN General Assembly, while she appears to be holding back tears of anger during her speech. “People are suffering, people are dying, entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are the beginning of a mass extinction and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal growth.” Thunberg goes on to tell global leaders that she will never forgive them for failing to take action on climate change. The world was shocked by the passion and poise of this teenager leading everyone to think: Who is Greta Thunberg?

Thunberg founded the Fridays for the Future movement (School Strike for Climate) in 2018, a campaign in which she encouraged students to skip school to encourage climate change action from their governments. Her commitment to the environment grew until Thunberg was spending every Friday on strike, one of her most notable one being last November when Thunberg striked for two weeks outside the Swedish parliament with one demand in mind: the government cut emissions by 15% a year.  

The genesis of her activism career began when she first learned about climate change at age eight, stating she didn’t understand why adults in power weren’t working to curb its effects. Thunberg later won a climate-change essay competition for Swedish newspaper, Svenska Dagbladet, in 2018. She launched the School Strike for Climate three months later. She has also publicly credited her Asperger’s syndrome to fueling her fierce personality, dubbing it as her “superpower.”

Her notable achievements include speaking at the 2018 United Nations climate change conference in Poland, leading a global climate change protest in March of 2019 with more than one million students, a nomination for the Nobel Global Peace Prize, speaking with Pope Francis during a weekly general audience at the Vatican, speaking with U.K. Parliament leaders, and speaking with former President Barack Obama. Most recently, on September 20th, Thunberg led yet another global climate strike that included over 4 million people across 161 countries.

It is without a doubt that Greta Thunberg is an inspiration to people all across the nation. Let us foster her anger within ourselves and take similar steps to help solve this global issue plaguing our planet. So, simply put: Thank You Greta Thunberg.