Let’s Follow Greta’s Example

  • Anika Goyal ’23

Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old climate change activist from Sweden who has been in the headlines around the world. Recently she spoke at the UN summit, where she gave a compelling speech addressing the climate change crisis. She spoke on how the actionless older generation has stolen this generations’ childhood.

Greta argues, “you say you hear us and that you understand the urgency. But no matter how sad and angry I am, I do not want to believe that. Because if you really understood the situation and still kept failing to act, then you would be evil” (Transcript: Greta Thunberg’s Speech At The U.N. Climate Action Summit). Thunberg states how this issue is recurrent and didn’t appear out of the ordinary, and little to no improvements have been made. She points out the fact that children and teenagers are having to step up due to the fact that adults have ignored the issue and will not take action.

Greta spoke directly to those of authority, hoping to get her word across. These leaders can directly impose laws and regulations to reduce greenhouse gases and the use of plastic. Although they might not, Greta at least has taken action and started to draw the line. Her speech at the UN persuaded and inspired many, but many still disagree with her. They argue that she is “poorly informed.” Greta is in fact completely informed; she recognizes that we have very little time left to reverse our actions before the situation is out of human control. Those who are arguing against her don’t realize the consequences and effects of climate change. She speaks on the statistics and how “…these numbers are too uncomfortable. And you are still not mature enough to tell it like it is” (Transcript: Greta Thunberg’s Speech at the U.N. Climate Action Summit).

Adults are so uncomfortable with these statistics that they would rather discard the issue, than actually face it. This has resulted in no actions being made, subsequently leading to our climate becoming four degrees warmer by the end of this century. Greta has proposed a school strike to raise awareness and help make a difference in the efforts to help fix our dying planet. School, which is an intergenerational exchange of knowledge. It is the perfect place to begin awareness. It represents how Generation Z is the generation that is currently going to be the most affected by climate change, and how they are taking action.

Now almost all generations are working together and are trying to reverse the effect of the older generations, due to the fact that previous generations have failed to address and to take action on climate change in the past. Students nowadays are often told that they cannot make a difference because it has been this way for so long, which proves Greta’s point exactly, because previous generations have not addressed this issue. As a result, younger generations are told to believe that this will forever be the way the world is.

But this is beginning to change. Because of people like Greta, people are slowly trying to fix the adverse effects that have been made to our climate. Students in schools today are starting programs, protesting, and starting to create a change. By following in Greta Thunberg’s footsteps we can begin to reverse the effects that have been made to our climate. Some ways that students are taking action are through social media.

Although our parents may disagree with social media platforms such as Instagram, this is actually where teenagers are becoming most informed about our climate and other global issues. Programs such as the US Youth Climate Strike involve thousands of teenagers around the nation in the fight to restore our climate. Greta’s speech informed thousands globally to take action and help reverse the damage done to our planet. By speaking up we are spreading awareness and through awareness we are taking action. And action is the only way we can save our planet.

Photo from the New Republic

By Axel de Vernou

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