Taking the World by Storm
Whether you’re a fan or foe of the most-talked about environmental activist, there’s no denying this precocious sixteen-year-old climate crusader has grabbed the world’s attention. Here’s what you need to know about the tempestuous teen, the great Greta Thunberg.
Unless you haven’t noticed, this Nordic Nobel Peace Prize nominee is a fast-rising star amongst the most notable of climate change enthusiasts. No matter what side of the political aisle you fall, this adolescent activist has EVERYONE talking. Globetrotting by sea in a zero-emissions boat to speak at environmental conferences worldwide, the busy, Swedish-born teen willfully and passionately practices what she preaches. Make no mistake. Unlike many of her activist predecessors and current climate change celeb cohorts who unapologetically fly in private jets attending conferences where they shamelessly implore the masses to eagerly relinquish life’s little luxuries, like air travel, eating meat, and sipping through plastic straws, Thunberg puts her money where her mouth is – and she’s unafraid to call those out who don’t.
A Chilly Reception
Having officially renounced her studies back in Sweden to purposefully affect change after launching the successfully #Fridaysforfuture movement nearly two years ago, Thunberg has found herself inadvertently thrust into the very tumultuous political climate. Traveling the world over to conduct plenary speeches marked with unforgettably fervent pleas, implorations, and blatant, scolding denunciations that instantaneously went viral, the bold teen unabashedly continues to address the world’s most powerful leaders with an unsettling tenor tinged with anguish, fear, and fury. Beseeching her listeners to heed the dire warnings of imminent, catastrophic consequences likened to human extinction if something isn’t done immediately, Thunberg thrust with her fair share of criticism and praise. Her deeply emotional, impassioned speech at the United Nation’s climate summit in New York last month immediately set off tidal waves on both sides of the contentious political spectrum. The climate change advocates on the progressive side are on-board with her courageous crusade, while conservatives argue the young climate change proponent is unwittingly being used as just another political pawn by the opposition to push the long-running climate change hoax. Whether you agree or disagree with Thunberg’s personal pursuits, there’s no doubt she’s uncompromising in her convictions.
A Rising Star in a Sea of Schism
The chubby-cheeked environmental activist with the defiant stare who boasts a Twitter and Instagram following of nearly 7 million hasn’t been without her personal challenges. Afflicted with socially debilitating Asperger’s Syndrome, Thunberg also suffers from clinical depression and has endured an eating disorder bout, though you’d never know it. In 2018, she initiated a school strike outside the Swedish parliament, which swiftly spread globally and currently includes 100,000 schoolchildren from all over the world. The audacious movement became the basis for #Fridaysforfuture where children cut class every Friday to protest for climate change. Thunberg has spoken at climate rallies and on panels in Stockholm, Helsinki, Brussels, London, as well as attended the United Nations COP24 in Katowice, Poland where she addressed the secretary-general with a plenary, keynote speech that went viral. A voracious vegan, she was recently named one of the most influential people in Time magazine. In January 2019, she was invited to the World Economic Forum in Davos, where her zealous speeches, again, made a worldwide impact. Last September, she was given the keys to the city of Montreal by Mayor Valerie Plante.
Fueling the Furor
The irony of her unequivocally provocative climate campaigning cannot be overlooked. Her hard-hitting message meant to evoke fear, response, and call to action, simultaneously blames the very people who commend her valiant efforts. During her latest appearance at the United Nations climate summit in New York last month, she amassed a new pool of supporters as well as adversaries following her famous speech in which she furiously summoned dignitaries and leaders to take action – or else. Sporting a seemingly innocuous appearance of “schoolgirl” braids, oversized coats, and hand painted signs that eligibly state her plea, one may be inclined to question, “why all the hate?” that’s coming from so many, particularly on the political right. Some dare to suggest her impressionable pubescence, gender, or the fact that the climate resolutions she explicitly offers counter the current economic and political atmosphere. “We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can think of is money and fairytales of eternal growth…how dare you?” she angrily began her speech last month at the United Nations, clearly addressing a room full of attendees who've previously dismissed and/or denied the urgency for change. The phrase that dominated news cycles for days, eliciting contention, harmony, mockery, and adulation. Thunberg concluded her fiery speech promising change was looming, “…whether you like it or not,” but without a clear, definitive plan. Hopefully, she can get China on-board. At the very least.
Fast Facts about Greta Thunberg
In 2018, she pioneered the global warming movement #Fridaysforfuture, which encourages students to cut class all in the name of saving the planet.
She first addressed the United Nations COP24 climate summit in Poland at age 15.
She is recognized by Time magazine as one of 100 influential people and even graced the eminent publication’s cover.
She is nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for her continued, arduous fight for climate change. If selected, she would be the youngest laureate since Malala Yousafzai.
She patiently sailed across the vast Atlantic to the United Nations climate summit in New York aboard an eco friendly, zero emissions boat voyage that took two weeks to complete.
She sees her Asperger’s “as a superpower,” noting that people on the autism spectrum see things “a bit differently” and possess a “special intent” and perspective on things.
The world is watching this stormy weather GoGirl, that’s for sure.