16 Year Old Greta Thunberg’s Climate Activism Is Inspiring The Indian Youth

Written by , MA (Journalism & Mass Communication) Chaitra Krishnan MA (Journalism & Mass Communication) Experience: 5 years

If you haven’t heard the name “Greta Thunberg,” you haven’t been paying attention to the news. Greta is a 16-year-old climate activist from Sweden, who is playing a major role in motivating the youth to fight against climate change. Her popularity and influence prove that our world is desperately in need of young leaders who can see into the future. None of the world leaders who are making the law for us are going to be alive in a few decades from now when the planet is going to crumble. It will be today’s youngsters that will suffer the most and people like Greta have realized that at a rather young age.

Image: Instagram @gretathunberg

Greta won the ‘2019 Right Livelihood Award’ on Wednesday “for inspiring and amplifying political demands for urgent climate action reflecting scientific facts.” The award is also known as Sweden’s alternative Nobel Prize. Her speech at the United Nations climate summit in New York went viral earlier this week on social media, with more and more people raising their voice in her support. The ripples of Greta’s fight against climate change have reached various parts of the world, including India. 20th to 27th September is observed as the week for ‘Global Climate Justice’ and the protests in different parts of the world is indicating that the we are finally waking up. Read on to know more about Greta Thunberg and her climate activism.

Who Is Greta Thunberg?

Image: Instagram @gretathunberg

Greta Thunberg is a 16-year-old girl, who is just like any other teenager. She’s from Stockholm, Sweden and is the daughter of actor, Svante Thunberg and opera singer, Malena Ernman. At a TEDx talk, Greta said that she heard about climate change for the first time when she was only 8 years old. This was back in 2011 and she wondered why so little was done for such an important issue. In August 2018, Greta started protesting against the policymakers by not going to school. This was after the wildfires and heat waves that Sweden experienced during the summer last year. It is considered to be the hottest summer in Sweden in at least 262 years!

Greta’s demand from the government was simple — reduce carbon emissions based on the Paris Agreement. The Paris Agreement was made under the roof of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 2016 and it aimed at fighting climate change at a global level. Greta protested for about three weeks before the general elections in Sweden.

Image: Instagram @xrbangalore

Once the pictures of her strike went on social media, her cause and her face gained wide-spread attention. Today, Greta’s official Instagram account has 6 million followers. At the United Nations Climate Summit that happened a few days ago, Greta delivered a very strong speech directed at the adult leaders by repeatedly asking “how dare you?”

While she’s a source of inspiration for children and adults alike, there are naysayers who think that Greta’s activism is a bluff. This includes Fox News Guest Michael Knowles who said that “None of that matters because the climate hysteria movement is not about science. If it were about science, it would be led by scientists rather than by politicians and a mentally ill Swedish child who is being exploited by her parents and by the international left.” Fox News later apologized to Greta who considers being diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome as her “superpower.”

Fridays For Future Movement

Image: Instagram @gretathunberg

Greta’s idea of skipping school in order to protest against climate change is followed by many young protesters all over the world. The core idea behind this movement is about the futility of education if there is no future. What is the point of going to school and aspiring to become a doctor or a teacher if nobody is going to be alive in a few years? If you think about it, it’s a shocking truth that falls to the deaf adult and politician ears. Also, there is no point in education if educated people are not being heard. You can join this movement by registering on fridaysforfuture.org.

Climate Strikes In India

Image: Instagram @fridaysforfuture.cochin

On September 20th, students and adults came together to raise their voices against the ignorance that is shown towards climate change. These protests happened across major cities of India including Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Kochi, and Kolkata. This week, major environmental groups like Fridays For Future (FFF), Extinction Rebellion (XR), and Jhatkaa.org have come together in Bangalore to organize a series of events to protest against climate change. In Delhi, millennials gathered near Lodhi Garden and chanted slogans popularized by Greta Thunberg in Europe and other parts of the world.

With more and more young people involving in the protest against climate change, we hope that the voice is loud and clear. And, it is good enough to wake the world leaders and adult population who have been in hibernation for years. Because as we know, there’s neither a Plan B nor a Planet B. What do you feel about the climate change crisis? How do you do your part in supporting our environment? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

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