Teenage environmental activist Greta Thunburg inspiring other teens to join the climate change fight



16-year-old Swedish climate activist delivers a blistering denouncement of world leaders at the 2019 United Nations Climate Action Summit in New York City, on Sept. 23.

Greta Thunburg, a 16-year-old Swedish environmental activist, has become the new face of the climate change movement as she has shot to the front lines in the war on global warming.

Thunberg was even invited to speak at the United Nations Climate Action Summit in New York City on Sept. 19, where she delivered a blistering denouncement of world leaders for failing to act on the climate change crisis.

“This is all wrong. I shouldn’t be up here,” Thunberg began. “I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you!

“You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words, she continued. “And yet I’m one of the lucky ones. People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!”

Perhaps because of her age, Thunburg’s activism is attracting more and more teenagers to her cause. Already there are other teenage climate change activists making names for themselves on the international stage. This says a lot about how smart this generation of kids is and the power they can wield for positive change. 

“I think that what she is doing is very inspirational. she is striving to make the world a better place and taking a stand against adults who do not think the same us her,”Olympic Heights junior Emily Greenspan comments on Thunburg’s activism. “She is dedicating herself to this cause and if she keeps fighting for change, hopefully one day everyone will follow along so that there can be an end to climate change.” 

Prior to, but especially after her U.N. address, Thunberg has come under attack by climate change deniers, with some saying that a few of those attacks have crossed the lines of common decency. She has been compared to a Nazi and called “mentally ill” (Thunburg has been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome) by Fox News guest commentator Michael Knowles. Fox News later apologized for what it called the “disgraceful” comment and announced it has no plans to invite Knowles back on its network.

She has even been mocked in a tweet by President Donald Trump.

Acting more like an adult than her detractors, Thunberg has responded to the attacks in a measured and mature manner, keeping her focus on the climate change issue, saying that she does not “understand why grown-ups would choose to mock children and teenagers for just communicating and acting on the science when they could do something good instead.” She has even referred to her Asperger’s as “my superpower.” 

While most of the focus is on Thunburg’s activism, as it should be, many are unaware of how this 16-year-old Swedish girl who is bringing new attention to the climate change crisis, triggering grown adults in the process,  became involved in the climate change issue.

Thunberg first heard of climate change when she was eight years old and didn’t understand why so little was being done about this problem. Three years later she was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, obsessive compulsive disorder, and selective mutism, all leading her to be depressed, weak, and at times unable to eat or talk.

In 2018, Thunberg decided to take time off school to focus on her passion for climate change. She held up signs and eventually organized a school climate strike movement, which this year expanded into the renewed global movement to seriously address climate change that has brought her unexpected fame.  

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