The future of our children is at stake. In the last two centuries, our planet has suffered a great deal. Industrial Revolution and growing population have triggered a mindless production and consumption of goods, which has not only risen the global temperature and polluted the environment massively, but it has also threatened the lives and future of millions! Fortunately, the current generation is not blind to the impending environmental crisis. One of such voices is of a young, sixteen-year-old girl from Sweden. Meet Greta Thunberg! Her environmental campaigns have gained international recognition in recent years.
Introduced at the age of eight with the ongoing climate crisis, by her parents and teachers at school, Greta Thunberg spiralled into a deep depression and that’s how she decided to channelise her despair to fight against the climate crisis. In August 2018, she received a lot of media attention when she protested outside the parliament of Sweden, with a sign saying “School Strike for Climate”, demanding concrete climate action. Since then she has become a face of youth climate movement globally. She is being invited to international conferences to speak and address world leaders.
In one of her speeches at the United Nations climate action summit in New York in September 2019, she castigated and accused world leaders of not doing enough to tackle the climate crisis. The speech, though, went viral, received a lot of criticism and trolling too, especially the one from a tweet by Donald Trump, the current President of the United States of America.
While her activism has been praised and supported, all around the world, some accuse her of virtue signalling and catastrophizing the entire climate issue which is making children more depressed and anxious. Some even call it a political agenda. Her parents have been at the receiving end too, to have disrobed her off a carefree childhood. Barring the noise of her detractors, her impact is palpable. Inspired by her strike, many students, worldwide, have joined her #FridaysForFuture demonstrations and have been urging world leaders to take urgent, solid steps to contain climate change by eliminating the use of fossil fuels, transitioning to renewable resources and by taxing carbon emissions. Such protests have been mounting pressure on governments and corporates to respond. Impact of her activism can be estimated from the fact that she was also nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in March 2019. Presently, she has taken a sabbatical from her school and plans to visit the Americas, meet other climate activists and see the impact of climate change in the most affected areas.
It’s not just Greta Thunberg who has been making her voice heard at global platforms. Ridhima Pandey, an 11-year-old girl from India, has filed a complaint in United Nations against the world’s five largest polluters. Then, there is Mary Copney, another 11-year-old from Flint, Michigan, who has been campaigning relentlessly against the growing water crisis in her town. The voices of these young children are getting louder, day by day, and it would not be long when world leaders will have no choice but to respond!