“I want to feel safe. How can I feel safe when I know we are in the greatest crisis in human history?”
These were the haunting lines penned by Greta Thunberg, the young environment activist from Stockholm, Sweden’s capital, published in the Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet in May 2018. Don’t these lines still carry the startling echoes of the perils that environmental damage brings to humans over the course of time?
Thunberg’s Activism: The Impact
The immediate impact of Greta’s activism happened in her family, resulting in severe lifestyle changes (including her parents supporting her mission in veganism, upcycling and her mother, an opera singer eventually giving up flying.) Flying, one of the essential pursuits of modern civilization, Thunberg believes, is necessary to give up to reduce carbon dioxide emission and climate change. Within no time, the zeal of her activism had spread wings in the school communities with the much talked-about school climate strikes in August 2018. Her initiative had been inspired by The March For Our Lives, a student-led demonstration as an aftermath of the tragic Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida.
Her protest movements, part of her mission to persuade adults to implement significant steps to combat the repercussions of climate change began to gain huge solidarity from young activists globally, fueled by the new age social media. The rest, as they say, is history. In view of the current global crisis of the pandemic and also in view of global warming, deadlier heat waves, and other countless impacts of climate change, shouldn’t we listen more to this 17-year-old? Shouldn’t we be more aware of a devastating decline for mankind that she foresees?
Thunberg at UN’s Climate Change Conference:
Recently, Thunberg was invited as an influential speaker at the United Nation’s Climate change conference in Madrid, Spain (December 2019) as a follow up to her presence at the UN in New York City in September. In the conference, her voice bore great resemblance to the voice of another young activist from Vancouver, Canada, Severn Cullis-Suzuki in 1992 as she delivered her bold, striking speech, “you must change your ways,” at the UN’s climate conference in Rio De Janeiro.
The existential threat to humanity was pinpointed in clear, authoritative stance by the mere 12-year-old Severn. The world leaders were as silenced as they were, when 17-year-old Thunberg spoke, with personal, emotional reference to attract attention, to provoke action. Had nothing at all changed in these 27 years? How ruthless have we become to safeguard our profit-making industries that the policy makers, leaders and politicians allow the global situation to turn more catastrophic every single day?
Climate Activism: Remembering the Earth Day
Is climate activism a part of social activism, more sought in the places most vulnerable to acute climate change? Remembering the Earth Day in April which started as a celebration to honor the resources of our planet, we would like to say ‘YES’!
No matter what politicians Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin and Jair Bolsonaro have remarked to belittle the Nobel Peace Prize nominee and Time Person of the Year Thunberg, ‘The Greta Effect’, especially in school-aged children has gained momentum significantly. Initially, Thunberg’s global mission to take action against climate change had resulted in outrages and school strikes in over 7,000 towns and cities. This movement has now turned into a more organic movement of epic proportions as a whole generation of youth activists, aged 9 to 21, are dedicating their lives for greater environment sustainability.
One of the most significant initiatives in this context is the litigation pursued by the youth in Norway and Pakistan for climate protection. And the revolution continues, Thunberg being one of its torchbearers.