We Can Change!

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We Can Change Our Future!

Greta Thunberg

In 2018, at age 15, a precocious Swedish girl named Greta Thunberg, with a middle-name of TinTin, after a famous set of illustrated cartoon adventure stories from previous generations, woke up to the great existential threat of global climate change.  She convinced her parents to adopt lifestyle choices reducing their family carbon footprint, and she spent school days outside the Swedish parliament calling for stronger action on climate change, holding up a sign reading SkolStrejk för Klimatet (School Strike for the Climate).  Soon, many other students engaged in similar protests in their own communities. Together, they organized a school climate strike movement under the name Fridays for Future.  

She addressed the 2018 United Nations Climate Change Conference, and student strikes took place every week somewhere in the world.  In 2019, there were multiple coordinated multi-city protests involving over a million students each.  She avoided flying and its climate impacts by sailing to North America to attend the 2019 UN Climate Action Summit.  Her emotional and inspiring speech there, challenging adult leaders with "how dare you", followed by ways adults were ignoring and inadequately responding to climate change, was widely reported by the press and used in inspirational music.

 

She rose quickly to world fame, because, as a 16-year-old girl, she was exhibiting greater leadership than most adult leaders in power on the critical issues of global warming and climate change.  She was targeted and attacked in media and social media, but she always held her poise.  Her influence on the world stage was called "The Greta Effect", and she contributed hugely to rousing humanity to change.

She received many honors and awards:  Honorary Fellow of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society; Time magazine's 100 most influential people and youngest Time “Person of the Year”; inclusion in the Forbes list of World's 100 Most Powerful Women and 2 repeated nominations for the Noble Peace Prize, which she was awarded in 2022.  A teenage girl played a major role, convincing the people of the world to rally and adequately address the global climate change crisis, which we finally did.  She is a hero.

 

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