greta-thunberg-person-of-the-year-2019

In this world governed by money and politics, very few people actually care about our planet. In this world where world leaders and business companies are investing extravagantly on Space Travel and searching life on other planets there are very few people working to make our Earth a better place to live in. Among those few people, there is a 16 year old girl travelling all over the world running campaigns in which she urges for immediate action to climate crisis. That girl is climate activist Greta Thunberg. I am sure you have heard of Greta’s works and if you haven’t, this post is for you.

Greta Thunberg

Who is Greta Thunberg?

Greta Tintin Eleonora Ernman Thunberg (full name) is a Swedish climate activist whose campaigning for addressing climate crisis has attained international recognition. Despite the fact that she is just 16 years old, she is best known for her straightforward speaking behaviours not just with normal people but even with world leaders.

Greta Thunberg was born on 3 January 2003 in Stockholm as the daughter of actor Svante Thunberg and opera singer Malena Ernman. Thunberg says she first heard about global climate change in 2011, when she was 8 years old, and couldn’t understand why so little was being done about it. After three years, she was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD), and selective mutism which basically means she only speak when she thinks it is necessary. Her Asperger diagnosis was made public nationwide in Sweden by her mother in May 2015, so as to other families during a similar situation, as she said. While acknowledging that her diagnosis “has limited me before”, she does not view her Asperger’s as an illness and has instead called it her “superpower”.

Greta nad her family
Greta with her Family

How Greta became a climate activist?

As told earlier Greta came to know about climate change in 2011 and she wondered why greater efforts are not made to address the problem. This disappointed Greta and she realized if not anyone else it must be her that should take steps to protect the planet. There’s a saying “every campaign should begin from one’s home.” Similarly, Greta took her steps starting from her home by challenging her parents to lower the family’s carbon footprint and overall impact on the climate by becoming vegan, upcycling, and giving up flying. Though it was hard to convince her parents she finally succeeded as she warned her family saying they are stealing her future.

On August 2018, Greta decided to protest in front of the Swedish parliament building, vowing to continue until the government met the carbon emissions target set out by world leaders in Paris in 2015. She stoop up with a simple sign, black letters on white board which said, “School Strike for Climate” in Swedish. At first she was alone and she thought she was the only one who cared about the climate crisis. However, as time rolled on her movement was supported by millions of students and she got viral all over the world.

Greta Thunberg-School strike for climate
Greta Thunberg in front of Swedish Parliament building with a sign saying “School Strike for Climate” in Swedish language.

Greta’s movement got international recognition and she then started travelling to some of the strikes in Europe where she preferred train over air-plane so as to limit her impact on environment. Isn’t she great? After that she sailed across the Atlantic Ocean for two weeks to attend climate conferences in New York and Chile. Greta’s movement reached to its climax at United Nations Climate Action Summit in New York on September 23, 2019. She gave a wonderful speech where she chastised world leaders for failing younger generations by not taking sufficient steps to stop climate change. Click here to watch the full video of her speech here.

Criticisms

Imagine a great campaign without criticisms and huddles. Good deed always comes with obstacles and criticisms. Greta Thunberg also had to tackle these problems. And guess who criticized Greta’s movements? US President Donal Trump  seemed to mock her by saying she “seems like a very happy girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future” and also mentioned about anger management. What’s more, Russian President Vladimir Putin also called her ” a kind but poorly informed teenager”.

When you get criticisms from such greatest world leaders, it certainly gets proven that your deeds are exceptional. Greta replied her criticisms with humour. She changed her Twitter bio with Trump’s word and also again with Putin’s words. Greta Thunberg has certainly made clear that she is not going to stop her protests and campaigns whatever criticisms and huddles she faces.

Awards

Even at such a young age, Greta has received many awards. She was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. On 8 March 2019, Greta Thunberg was named Swedish Woman of the Year  by Swedish Women’s Educational Association. Similarly, Time Magazine named Thunberg as one of the 100 most influential people of 2019 in April 2019. Talking about Time magazine, Greta was also honoured as the Time’s person of the year 2019 on 11 December 2019. She is the youngest person ever to receive this award.

Greta becomes the youngest ever Time's person of the year

To learn about all the awards and honours received by Greta Thunberg, check out this wikipedia link.

Conclusion

In a nutshell, Greta Thunberg is an inspirational personality for youths and climate activists. She has been toiling hard by even skipping her school for an year. Why is she going to such extent? Why does a little girl care so much about the future of our planet? This is because people like us are idle and she can’t trust ignorant world leaders and people to prevent climate change. That’s why, she has taken the responsibility of the Earth’s Future in her own hands and it is our responsibility to support her.


By Nishchal Poudel

Nishchal is currently studying Bachelor in Aerospace Engineering at IOE Pulchowk Campus, Nepal.

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