At only 16 years old, Greta Thunberg has crossed the Atlantic Ocean, swept the national spotlight, and cemented a place for herself at the forefront of the battle against climate change.
On September 20th, the “Climate Strike” involving over 4,000,000 students from all over the world was led by Thunberg, who has led by example since 2018, when she began her own mission to invoke change.
Last year, Thunberg entered the media spotlight when she began demonstrating in front of the Swedish parliament every Friday, holding a sign reading “School Strikes for Climate Change”. Thunberg, also a student in high school, began her demonstrations after winning an award for an essay she authored about climate change. She claims she first learned about the issue at the age of eight, and has been concerned with the way the world’s governments are addressing what she considers to be the “beginning of a mass extinction”. Her activism has led her around the world, and brought her face-to-face with world leaders like Pope Francis, whom she encouraged to join the climate movement in April. Thunberg has had harsh words for leaders like Donald Trump, who, as President, has been dismissive of climate issues.
In the past, Thunberg gave speeches around Europe, traveling by train to reduce her carbon emissions. However, in order to continue speaking publicly and motivating people to join the climate movement, Thunberg endeavored to cross the Atlantic Ocean. She made the journey by boat over 13 days, arriving in New York on August 28. Since then, she has spoken with President Barack Obama, and in the House of Representatives regarding the climate change issue.
Thunberg was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome in 2015. Despite the challenges of being on the autism spectrum, she has called it her “superpower”. Her passionate leadership and courageous demonstrations led her to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
In the coming months, Thunberg will tour North America and speak on behalf of the climate strike movement. In December, she will speak at the annual UN Climate Change Conference in Santiago, Chile.
“…I think that we should wake up, and we should also try to wake the adults up, because their generation is the ones who are mostly responsible for this crisis, and we need to hold them accountable. “