At just 18 years old, Greta Thunberg has accomplished more in the name of climate change than many lifelong environmentalists and politicians. Our planet sits precariously on the teetering edge between ruin and repair, and this young, Swedish activist is standing in the middle, trying to keep everything balanced. Passionate, persuasive, and wise beyond her years, Greta Thunberg’s greatest accomplishments are the result of three long years of hard work and sacrifice.
1. Greta Thunberg started her activism when she was still a teenager.
The Swedish teen began her journey of activism three years ago, at the age of 15. Even then, Thunberg knew what was at stake. More importantly, she was willing to sacrifice her time, her privacy, her youth, and even her education to fight for the planet. It all began on the first fateful Friday in August 2018, when she stood in front of the Swedish parliament building in protest against the lax governmental response to the climate crisis.
2. Greta Thunberg was 'TIME' magazine's youngest person of the year.
"She is an ordinary teenage girl who, in summoning the courage to speak truth to power, became the icon of a generation," TIME wrote in the piece announcing Thunberg's title. "By clarifying an abstract danger with piercing outrage, Thunberg became the most compelling voice on the most important issue facing the planet."
3. Greta Thunberg was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize... more than once.
According to The Hill, Thunberg has been nominated for the coveted Nobel Peace Prize, not once, but twice. To her credit, the nomination came from two Swedish lawmakers, Jens Holm and Hakan Svenneling, who spoke of the then 17-year-old’s hard work in opening the eyes of politicians like themselves. This nomination, specifically for environmental activism, puts her in the same category as former vice president, Al Gore, who won in 2007.
4. Greta Thunberg continually speaks up for the younger generation.
Thunberg has also spoken about the importance of protecting future generations from the environmental mistakes caused by climate change. According to the Thomson Reuters Foundation, Thunberg has stated that climate change is the single greatest threat facing children and young people today. She also stated that it likely falls upon younger generations to “clean up the mess you adults have made…”
5. Greta Thunberg founded Fridays for Future.
Thunberg’s Friday protests have gone from a wide-eyed solo protest to grounded, global activism. Her program, Fridays for Future, was founded to bring attention to the environmental crimes of banks, businesses, and governments while calling out the laissez-faire attitude of those whose responsibility it is to fix those problems.
Her words have obviously struck a chord, even amongst her peers, because millions of people have attended global climate strikes since she began protesting. According to the Hurriyet Daily News, more than 7.6 million people protested in September 2019 alone. By November of that same year, more than 17,000 students from 24 countries began to take part in Thunberg’s Friday school strikes.
Thunberg continues to speak out about the climate crisis, even though many of her protests have been digital as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. We may be close to the tipping point, but if government leaders and businesses start to take heed to Thunberg’s words, we might just have a chance of tipping the scales back in the planet’s favor.