The Rise of Greta Thunberg: The Environmental Activist Challenging World Leaders
With 100% of global warming accounted to human activity and climatic changes estimated to cause 150,000 deaths annually, we must take responsibility for how our actions impact the plant. Over the years, the human race has experienced vast shifts in weather patterns and temperatures, such visceral consequences indicate how we are changing the world for the worse.
As the importance of being environmentally friendly and reducing climate change ever increases, many passionate activists have risen from the crowds, such as Greta Thunberg. But the question is, who is this young yet passionate activist?
Who Is Greta Thunberg?
Greta Thunberg is a famed Swedish environmental activist, who rose to prominence when she began challenging world leaders to act against climate change. Born in 2003, Greta has spent much of her life and teenage years championing climate change action, even persuading her parents to reduce their carbon footprints with responsible lifestyle choices.
At just 15 years old, Greta stood outside the Swedish Parliament campaigning for action against climate change, often seen holding a poster that read ‘Skolstrejk för klimatet’ – translated as ‘Schools strike for climate’. Criticising world leaders for their insufficient action to combat climate change, Greta is shaping future generations of activists and campaigners.
When Did Greta’s Activism Start?
When she was just eight years of age, Greta first showed an interest in climate change.
Unfortunately, Greta became so worried about the environment that she began to suffer from depression – stopping eating and losing a large amount of weight due to her concern. After a couple of years of suffering from depression, Greta made the decision to take a stand – protesting and striking from school to make her voice heard.
Named as the 2019 TIME Person of the Year, it is without a doubt that Greta has marked her name in the history books.
Greta’s Previous Campaigns
During her time as a passionate environmental activist, Greta has been at the forefront of several campaigns and protests surrounding climate change.
2018 – Protesting in front of The Swedish Parliament
Back in 2015, Greta began her activism by protesting outside the Swedish Parliament, where she would be seen holding a sign reading ‘Skolstrejk för klimatet’ – translated as ‘Schools strike for climate’.
Although her campaign was small, it soon gained international attention, inspiring hundreds upon thousands of young people to take a stance against climate change. By the end of 2018, Greta’s campaign had spread across the world, travelling from Japan all the way to the UK.
Over 20,000 students soon joined Greta in her school’s strikes to make officials pay attention to the ever-important risks of climate change and global warming. Greta’s hard work and commitment were rewarded with a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Speech at the 2018 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP24)
In 2018, Greta delivered a speech at the plenary session of the 2018 United Nations Climate Change Conference. In a speech that has since gone viral, Greta forced world leaders to pay attention to the importance of climate change and even remarked that world leaders weren’t ‘mature enough to tell it like it is’.
2019 – World Economic Forum Speech
Greta also attended the 2019 World Economic Forum where she delivered the speech in which she declared ‘our house is on fire’.
2019 – The UN Climate Action Summit
In 2019, Greta also attended the UN Climate Action Summit, during which she joined other young activists in a press conference from the United Nations Children’s Fund. There she made an official complaint against five countries that had failed to meet targets in relation to emission reduction.
2019 – COP25
Demonstrating her activism further, Greta attended COP25, but after it was moved to Madrid, she refused to fly due to the affect plane emissions have on climate change. Securing a lift to the conference aboard the La Vagabonde catamaran, Greta spoke at COP25 with Fridays for Future where she raised awareness of the continuing rise of emissions.
2020 – World Economic Forum
In 2020, before the Covid-19 pandemic, Greta attended the 2020 World Economic Forum. During her time at the conference, she delivered a number of speeches and declared that ‘our house is still on fire’.
2020 – European Parliament Environment Committee
In 2020, Greta also attended a meeting with the European Parliament Environment Committee. There, she and the committee discussed the European Climate Law, declaring that the new climate law proposal was a surrender.
Campaigning Throughout the Covid-19 Pandemic
”We kids most often don’t do what you tell us to do. We do as you do. And since you grown-ups don’t give a damn about my future, I won’t either. My name is Greta and I’m in ninth grade. And I am school striking for the climate until election day.” 1/3 https://t.co/LrRgTD2rmE pic.twitter.com/UQPFjzTjV2
— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) August 20, 2021
In March 2020 when the Covid-19 pandemic began, Greta was forced to take her activism virtual, using her social media accounts to continue spreading her message of action for climate change.
In 2021, she joined thousands in filing a petition to the United Nations, concerning declaring a Level 3 Global Climate Emergency. She also attended the COP26 conference, where she participated in protests and called COP26 ‘a failure’ and accused them of ‘greenwashing’.
What Awards Has Greta Received?
Throughout her career, Greta has been awarded countless accolades for her activism. Some of her prominent awards include the following:
- Most Influential Teens of 2018 by Time
- TIME 100 of the Most Influential People in the World 2019
- Nature’s 10 of 2019
- The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women of 2019 by Forbes
- Swedish Woman of the Year 2019 from the Swedish Women’s Educational Association
- The Ambassador of Conscience Award from Amnesty International
- The Geddes Environmental Medal from the Royal Geographical Society
- The Right Livelihood Award
- The International Children’s Peace Prize 2019
- The Nordic Council Environment Prize
- The Glamour Woman of the Year 2019
- The Gulbenkian Prize for Humanity – donating the 1 Million Euro prize money to charitable organisations.
- The Fritt Ord Award
Other Works of Greta’s
Greta has also delivered the TED talk ‘The Disarming Case to Act Right Now on Climate Change’.
She also delivered the TEDx talk School ‘Strike for Climate – Save The World by Changing The Rules’.
She is the author of ‘No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference’.
What Has Greta Ultimately Achieved?
Through her passionate activism, Greta has inspired thousands of budding environmentalists to take a stand with her. After she began the school strike for climate movement, Fridays for Future was started and they continue their campaigning and activism today.
She was also the youngest person to claim the coveted Time Person of the Year Award, awarded the accolade for her passionate protesting, activism and fundraising for charitable causes.
Greta has also been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize on two occasions, opening politicians’ eyes to the realities of the world.
Who Is The Sustainability Speakers Agency?
Working with countless environmental activists similar in their passions to Greta Thunberg, The Sustainability Speakers Agency provides a plethora of sustainability and environmental speakers for corporate conferences and workshops. To see how you could work with us, get in contact by filling out our online contact form or by calling directly on 0203 9355 587.