In a spin on her “Fridays for Future” campaign, in which she skips school to advocate for the environment, teen activist Greta Thunberg led a group of hundreds to the UN building in Manhattan. Together, they voiced concerns for their futures in the face of rising global temperatures. This was Thunberg’s first protest in the United States.
There’s no stopping Greta Thunberg
The teen climate advocate refused to fly across the Atlantic due to carbon emissions. The eco-friendly boat she opted for instead gave her climate platform publicity worldwide.
Thunberg wasted no time gathering her group on Friday, leading nearly a thousand to the United Nations building in Manhattan. She took part in the protest with her trademark “Skolstrejk för klimatet” (School Strike for the Climate) sign. Other protesters carried signs that read “Our house is on fire” and “Science not silence”. Once outside the building, the group began impromptu chants, including “The seas are rising, and so are we!” and “System change, not climate change.”
The group included other notable youth activists such as Alexandria Villaseñor. Villaseñor has been using Thunberg’s “Fridays for Future” as a model for her own demonstrations in the United States since December of last year. Though the two advocated for climate change thousands of miles apart, they communicated and planned together online.
What’s next for the teen activist?
President of the United Nations General Assembly María Fernanda Espinosa invited Greta Thunberg and two other activists to meet with her on Friday afternoon. Upcoming events Thunberg plans to attend include the U.N. Youth Summit on Climate. She will also be a speaker at the Climate Action Summit in September.
This adds to her already impressive list of achievements as a climate advocate. Accomplishments include speaking at TEDxStockholm in November 2018. Time Magazine named Thunberg as one of their “100 most influential people of 2019” in April. She was also nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in March. If she wins the prize, she will be its youngest recipient ever.
That such a young activist has been able to make so great an impact is inspiration for the many in her generation that want to act against climate change, but feel helpless to do so.
The impact the teenager has made is certainly making certain career politicians of the United States government uneasy. Author Christopher Caldwell states in an article for the New York Times that Thunberg’s approach to trying to get lawmakers to act on the immediate, significant issue of climate change is “at odds with democracy”. While teen activist Greta Thunberg advocates for immediate action, the many with the opinion of Caldwell say that “[d]emocracy often calls for waiting and seeing.”
There might not be much time left to wait.