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Here’s how a 16-year-old climate activist became an inspiration to kids and adults alike!

16-year-old climate activist

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The clip of a 16-year old climate activist imploring world leaders to make a change while anger and tears masked her face went viral in September 2019. For a brief time, people stopped scrolling through memes, celeb gossip, and mindless videos to listen to this teenager talk at the UN Climate Action Summit.

16-year-old climate activist
Greta Thunberg

Who was this young girl and why was she trending all over the world? This young girl was none other than the Swedish Climate Activist Greta Thunberg. She captured everyone’s attention on 23rd September when she challenged world leaders to take action against climate change. Thunberg’s speech made people sit up and take notice. It sparked conversations all over the world about the impact of climate change on our ecosystem and the need to make a change. While Thunberg became popular all over the world with ner speech, her activism had started much earlier. Let’s take a look at the life of this young girl who started a much-needed-movement!

Greta Thunberg was born on 3 January 2003 in Stockholm, Sweden. Like any other kid, Thunberg wasn’t aware of climate change or its consequences. But all that changed when her teacher showed her a video that changed her life. The video was of starving polar bears, extreme changes in the weather, and other consequences of climate change. While most of her peers forgot about the video after school, Thunberg couldn’t move on.

Thunberg’s father remembers her being sad and isolated for the next few months. She stopped eating and her health deteriorated. Soon after, she was diagnosed with OCD, Asperger’s syndrome, and selective mutism. To comfort their daughter, Thunberg’s parents started making significant and positive changes in their life to do their bit for the environment. Thunberg gradually recovered and decided to take action rather than stew in her sadness.

Thunberg began a school strike and though her family wasn’t too keen on her missing school, they knew this was an important cause to their daughter. Soon, Thunberg joined forces with climate activists in Sweden launched a climate campaign. She would protest in front of the Sweden parliament every Friday holding a sign in Swedish which translated to “School strike for climate”. Thunberg soon started spreading her activism in other parts of Europe. Her high-profile public speeches started gaining her attention from not only Sweden but other countries.

In August 2019, Thunberg traveled to New York, the USA from England. But instead of flying, Thunberg sailed across the Atlantic ocean in a racing yacht equipped with solar panels. This journey was a demonstration of Thunberg’s belief that there were ways to reduce carbon emission if we wanted to.

On 23 September, Thunberg gave her viral speech at the UN Climate Action Summit in New York. The very same day, Thunberg along with 15 other children announced that they had made an official complaint against five nations for not meeting their emission reduction targets. 

Thunberg attended more climate change conferences over the next few months in the US. Her determination and passion for climate change inspired people to stand up and take action. She inspired environmental protests all over the world and even led people to make significant changes in their lives to make a good impact on the environment.

Thunberg was just a 15-year-old girl when she started her activism. While she might not be able to single-handedly reverse climate change or global warming, she brought attention to the issues with her activism. Today, millions of people inspired by Thunberg are making changes in their lives and urging leaders to take climate change seriously. Our planet needed a voice and Thunberg became that. Now it is up to us to spread the message and do our bit for the environment.

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