by Nicole Alvarez
Nobody could have known that when 15-year-old Greta Thunberg protested outside of the Swedish Parliament in August 2018, she was actually setting flame to one of the most momentous movements of all time.
When Greta Thunberg had learned that the planet was warming due to increased greenhouse gasses, she was horrified that it seemed as if nothing was being done. Greta began protesting every day for three weeks, demanding stronger action against global warming. Starting September of 2018, she began going on strike from classes each Friday, and not long after her classmates began to join her.
Through social media, Greta encouraged others to take part in her school climate strike movement, known as ‘Fridays for Future’ (FFF). In response, thousands of inspired and empowered students across the globe began to host walkouts at their own schools, and raise their own voices. Even students at Archbishop Murphy have noticed Greta’s movements effect on the climate conversation. Ninth grade student, Maya Niblett, had this to say when asked about her opinion on Greta Thunberg’s activism. “While the need to act on climate change has always been present on social media, Greta’s efforts have caused people to notice, and care much more. There are both positive and negative opinions on Greta Thunberg,” Maya then added that these negative views are owned by mostly the older generations, then continued “but, it is a fact that her presence has brought up the topic and raised awareness, regardless of opinion.” Maya then went on to say that she believes Greta’s social media presence has played a large role in bringing the climate crisis to the attention of the younger generations.
Since Greta Thunberg’s activism spread, Fridays for Future has made a powerful impact on our leaders. This has led to many positive changes worldwide. Along with weekly protests, Fridays for Future has organized global climate strikes. These strikes were attended by millions of people! We have changed and added urgency to this crucial conversation, and politicians have noticed. As a result, numerous countries have officially declared a ‘climate emergency’.
While empowered youth and adults alike have made extraordinary progress, there is still a long way to go. These ‘climate emergency’ declarations are rather meant to depict the importance of the situation, and so include no commonly agreed policies each nation must follow. This means that fossil fuels continue to burn, populations continue to pollute, and environments continue to be destroyed.
So, how can you help? You can use natural climate solutions by funding organizations that stop the destruction of environments and restore those that have already been damaged. You can also stop financing products that negatively impact the environment, and instead put your money towards green, reusable products of your choice. Along with these solutions, you always have the opportunity to spread the word and increase awareness by attending the next Fridays for Future march! This can be done in front of your local town hall every Friday, or at the next organized climate strike near you. There are thousands of movements happening around the world – join them!
“Everything counts. What you do, counts.” – Greta Thunberg