Youth activist Greta Thunberg caused a stir on an international level with her worldwide School Strike for Climate last month.
Thunberg originally began the movement by skipping school alone every Friday to protest climate change in front of the Swedish Parliament and documenting it on social media. In March 2019, over 1.5 million participants from 125 different countries engaged in a school strike to request stricter legislation against climate change.
Thunberg went viral on social media. Her somber expression and anger when speaking out against climate change struck a chord with many. To this day, the 16-year-old activist gives impassioned speeches imploring world leaders to make drastic changes in current climate policies. In 2019 Time named Thunberg one of the Top 100 Most Influential People.
“We can’t save the world by playing by the rules, because the rules have to be changed,” Thunberg said while speaking at a march in Sweden.
Recently, Thunberg attended a Climate Summit in New York. Rather than flying by plane, an enormous source of carbon emissions, the young activist took a two-week journey on an emission-free sailboat. Once at the summit, Thunberg delivered an emotional speech condemning world leaders for their inaction.
Thunberg’s speeches provide wake-up calls to the harsh reality of the climate crisis. She gives facts and solutions regarding current policies, putting into perspective how meaningless money is when the future of the planet is in serious jeopardy.
“We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you,” Thunberg said at the Climate Summit in New York.
Thunberg started a movement, bringing people all over the world together for a common goal. Despite an overwhelmingly positive response, Thunberg recently began experiencing backlash as news anchors and politicians began to bash Thunberg for her movement and ideas.
Though their differing political opinions are respectable, many adults, particularly Republicans, have attacked or mocked the 16-year-old activist for her serious demeanor, strong opinions and Aspergers diagnosis. While Thunberg refers to her diagnosis as her “superpower,” politicians and news anchors used Thunberg’s condition to belittle her. Michael Knowles of Daily Wire referred to Thunberg as a “mentally ill child,” losing his job in the process, while Laura Ingraham of Fox News compared her to the murderous kids in The Children of the Corn.
President Trump mocked Thunberg on Twitter, responding to a quote where she said climate change led to people suffering and dying, by calling her a “very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future.”
The mockery from adults in positions of power reflects poorly on themselves and the people they represent. Greta Thunberg is a 16-year-old in a vulnerable position. She gave up her education and privacy to stand up for what she believes in and encourage other kids to do the same.
Thunberg represents an entire generation of kids scared for Earth’s future. Similar to young gun control activist Emma Gonzalez, she proves repeatedly the ability of one person to make a huge difference while inspiring others to follow her lead. Regardless of political views, Greta Thunberg’s ability to rally so many kids for change is admirable.