The name Greta Thunberg is no longer foreign to our ears. As the world’s environment is slowly deteriorating due to the rapid economic and technological growth, the Swedish teenager decided to take the matter to her own hands.
Born in 2003, she was raised in Stockholm, Sweden and is the elder of two sisters. She is the daughter of actor Svante Thunberg and opera singer Malena Ernman. Greta is diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, a developmental disorder, however this does not discourage her, instead she sees this as a gift and describes that oftentimes, being different is a “superpower”. Greta, aged 15 at the time, started the global movement in August 2018 by regularly missing classes and spending her days in front of the Swedish Parliament holding up a sign which reads Skolstrejk för klimatet, which translates to “School Strike for Climate”, calling for stronger and more visible actions on climate change. Her actions then inspired vast numbers of people to join the global climate strike.
“Because of her, hundreds of thousands of teenage “Gretas,” from Lebanon to Liberia, have skipped school to lead their peers in climate strikes around the world.” – TIME
Her celebrity rose quite substantially after her iconic and powerful speech at the 2019 United Nations Climate Action Summit
“This is all wrong. I shouldn’t be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you! You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. And yet I’m one of the lucky ones. People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!”
Her ’how dare you’ speech then was widely taken up by the press, incorporated in various musical performances and was also a trending topic on the Internet for quite a while. Nevertheless, Greta remains unfazed by her growing fame. Since then, the 17-year-old has won multiple awards and dedicates the money she earns from book royalties, donations and prizes to establish a foundation to promote ecological and social sustainability. The fact that she is the youngest Time Person of the Year and is nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for two consecutive years (2019 and 2020) is truly awe-inspiring.
May all of us be inspired by her stories and actions and take our part in saving the planet. After all, the Earth belongs to all of us. Let us reduce unnecessary plastic usage, use environmentally-friendly transportation means, and a myriad more ways to care about the environment.
Header Picture Credit: BBC
Source: BBC, Time, JakartaPost
Written by: Devin