For those who don’t believe in climate change, teen advocate Greta Thunberg begs to differ. Thunberg is a 16-year-old student from Swedish. This year she will be a part of the United Nations Climate Action Summit. Thunberg is a teenage climate activist who decided to sail across the Atlantic ocean to avoid the emission of greenhouse gases. On Wednesday, August 28, 2019, Thunberg arrived in Coney Island, NY after 15 days of sailing on a zero-emissions yacht. 

Background on Thunberg:

Thunberg pioneered the movement known as “Fridays for Future.” In August of last year, Thunberg started a strike outside the Swedish Parliament for the climate by herself; starting a revolution across the world that now involves over 100,000 school children.   

Thunberg has spoken at climate rallies in Stockholm, Helsinki, Brussels and London. In December she attended the United Nations COP24 in Katowice, Poland, where she addressed the Secretary-General and made a plenary speech that went viral and was shared many million times around the globe. In January 2019 she was invited to the World Economic Forum in Davos where her speeches again made a worldwide impact.”

TED Talk:

Her voyage on The Malizia II operates on solar panels and underwater turbines to avoid carbon emissions. But her journey began many years before that. Her TED talk is called, The disarming case to act right now in climate change. Thunberg speaks about how she first learned about climate change at the age of eight. She was so taken aback by it that by the age of 11, she began to get sick. She “was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, OCD, and selective mutism.”

Further on, she reprimands the richer countries for being aware but irresponsible when it comes to caring for the environment. She says, “that rich countries need to get down to zero emissions within 6 to 12 years, with today’s emission speed. And that is so that people in poorer countries can have a chance to heighten their standard of living by building some of the infrastructures that we have already built, such as roads, schools, hospitals, clean drinking water, electricity, and so on.” This seems like a difficult task seeing as to how the current President of the United States, Donald Trump himself skips events like the G-7 summit on climate change.

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Thunberg’s talk ends with a call to action, not just hope. She acknowledges that for the past 30 years, all people have been advocating is hope and it’s had no effects. People still lead the lives they’ve always lived, being incognizant of or simply ignoring how their actions are affecting their future or their future generations. 

Thunberg has been named as one of the world’s most influential teens by TIME magazine. Even more prestigiously, she has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Criticism:

Despite all the applause, as with most activists, Thunberg wasn’t spared from criticism across the globe. Conservative French politicians labeled her a “prophetess in shorts.”

A former member of President Trump’s transition team, Steve Milloy, described her as “a teenage puppet.” Thunberg stands strong in the face of disparagement proclaiming, “we become the bad guys who have to tell people these uncomfortable things because no one else wants to, or dares to.”

United Nations Climate Action Summit will be held on September 29, 2019, and Greta Thunberg will be a teenage climate activist to look out for.