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LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 23: Swedish environmental campaigner Greta Thunberg addresses politicians, media, and guests with the Houses of Parliament on April 23, 2019, in London, England. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 23: Swedish environmental campaigner Greta Thunberg addresses politicians, media, and guests with the Houses of Parliament on April 23, 2019, in London, England. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Greta Thunberg and the power of ‘now’

How young is too young to be a world-changing woman? Greta Thunberg is 16 and a Nobel Peace Prize nominee.

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“When I was about 8 years old, I first heard about something called climate change or global warming. Apparently, that was something humans had created by our way of living. I was told to turn off the lights to save energy and to recycle paper to save resources. I remember thinking that it was very strange that humans, who are an animal species among others, could be capable of changing the Earth’s climate. Because if we were, and it was really happening, we wouldn’t be talking about anything else.” –Greta Thunberg, at a 2018 TED conference in Stockholm.

 

Global warming is real, and Greta has known it since she was 8, but who is she?

Full name: Greta Ernman Thunberg

Country of origin: Sweden

Profession: hard-core climate advocate

Years of awareness: 8

Years on Earth: 16

Achievements: 2019 Nobel Peace Prize nominee, 2019 Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People, Sweden’s Most Important Woman of 2019, 2018 UN Climate Change Summit guest speaker, and yes, the list goes on.

Also, yes, you have been reading that well: she is barely 16, and if she wins the Nobel Peace Prize, she will be the youngest person ever to receive such honor.

Does this make one question pop in our minds? What have we been doing to change the world? Take it from miss Thunberg. Apparently, speaking up and making a statement does help. Who knew?

Ditching school for the planet

Taking the world by storm with her Skolstrejk för Klimatet (#SchoolStrikeForClimate) campaign, Greta Thunberg is not only making headlines, but she is also pushing people to take action, now, because tomorrow might be too late.

This young climate activist started getting attention from the media in August 2018 –not even a year ago– and has already mobilized more than a million people all over the globe, protesting massively against government inaction towards global warming for the past 30 years.

With her premise stating that “no one is too small to make a difference,” Greta has reached an incredibly large audience, young and not so young, making it her priority to talk about the imminent threat climate change represents and the urgent actioning it requires, on our behalf, to be stopped.

Greta’s vision

While being only 11, Greta was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, OCD and selective mutism, something she says “basically means I only speak when I think it’s necessary,” and she believes “now is one of those moments.”

Reigniting the flame in the climate change conversation has been her goal, not just to keep “the pep talk” going, but to actually generate commitment from world leaders in order to comply with the Paris Agreement. An agreement that has been left on the side for too long.

“So when school started in August of this year (2018), I decided that this was enough. I sat myself down on the ground outside the Swedish parliament. I school-striked for the climate,” and her demonstrations showed all we need is a little encouragement.

“I think that if a few children can get headlines all over the world just by not going to school for a few weeks, imagine what we could all do together if we wanted to,” and that is the sentiment Greta has spread all over the planet. The idyllic idea of coming together to generate actual impact in one of the world’s most urgent matters: global warming.

It’s not a child’s game, it’s a real threat

With global temperatures going up by roughly 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit (0.8 degrees Celsius) over the past 4 decades, it is more than imperative to, once and for all, start making changes to our earthly way of living, and start working in pro our established warming target of the century, placed at 2 degrees Celsius.

The teenager is encouraging the Sweden government to reduce their carbon emissions by, at least, 15% if we want to have the chance to “go on as a civilization.” And she’s empowering other kids around the world to come forward and ask their governments to do the same. Together, it is better.

And although it is definitely not looking good now, if we have girls like Greta Thunberg reviving the conversation on climate change, pressing our world leaders and demanding our society to step forward and genuinely commit to making changes, then we still have hope.

“But the one thing we need more than hope is action.” –Greta Ernman Thunberg

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