At just 16 years old, Greta Thunberg is making her mark in this world. From a Swedish schoolgirl to a global influencer, her work is inspiring individuals to act. As a result, activism for climate change reform is increasing at an exponential rate.
Making Politicians Listen
Greta’s platform started with a school strike outside of the Swedish parliament in August 2018. Since then, her strides of progress earned her a position in front of politicians. On April 16, 2019, Greta spoke towards a room of members of the European Parliament and European Union officials.
In an emotional speech, Greta captivates the attention of each individual. Through tears, she lectures European politicians with the painful reality of the sixth mass extinction. After educating the audience, Greta urges people to act. More specifically, to act quickly.
Thunberg states, “I want you to act as if the house is on fire… Our house is falling apart and our leaders need to start acting accordingly because at the moment they are not.”
Continuing to address current politics, she remarks, “If our house was falling apart our leaders wouldn’t go on like you do today… If our house was falling apart, you wouldn’t hold three emergency Brexit summits and no emergency summit regarding the breakdown of the climate and environment.”
After the influencer’s last words, Parliament members concluded the speech with a standing ovation. However, only time will tell the political impact of these words.
Past Work and Achievements
- Greta sits down in front of the Swedish Parliament in protest against climate change.
- EU increases the allotted budget for climate change reform after a speech from Greta.
- Three Norwegian lawmakers nominate Greta for the Nobel Peace Prize in lieu of her campaign against climate change.
- Time placed Greta on the Time 100 list of leaders.
- Greta speaks in front of the European Parliament and delivers a heartbreaking speech.
- Pope Francis and Greta meet, where he urges her to continue doing what she does.
August 2018 – Present
- Other students follow Greta’s lead and protest for climate change reform.
Greta Thunberg, the Swedish schoolgirl taking the world by storm, may finally be the spark to ignite permanent reform. Will her strides continue to influence other leaders? Will her actions inspire the public and companies to take action?
In her words, “It’s not still too late to act… It will take a far-reaching vision.” It will take courage, it will take fierce, fierce determination to act now. Despite the challenges, she continues to take on the task of making the required changes possible.
With Greta’s wisdom and confidence, the future seems promising.
Avery is a writer for the Energy section and a Material Science and Engineering student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.