It is not common to find teen activists trying to concretely fight climate change. But today at the COP24 we have met Greta Thunberg, a 14 years-old student from Sweden, who every Friday protests alone in front of the Parliament in Stockholm. The goal of this action is to push political leaders into complying to the carbon emission limits agreed in Paris, and she is not willing to stop until her mission will be fulfilled.
“Since our leaders are behaving like children, we will have to take the responsibility they should have taken long ago,” she said. The girl, who on Monday had also a meeting with the UN Secretary General António Guterres, declared that her hope is that through this conference people will realise that we are facing an existential threat – the biggest crisis that humanity has ever faced – and that consequently we have to do something as fast as possible to stop the emissions and try to save what we can save.
Greta, who has initially taken inspiration from some American students protesting against school mass shootings, is now herself a role model for people of all ages around the world: she has become the realization that everyone can bring changes to fix issues threatening the well-being of our planet.
When asked if her parents agree with her choice to skip school a day every week, she answered that her father cannot actively support this, but he is proud that her daughter is bringing her experience at the COP. Greta has also a message for other school students: “You don’t have to make a school strike, it’s your own choice. But why should we be studying for a future that soon may be no more? This is more important than school, I think”.
Unfortunately, even though now she is under global media attention, her own government still does not want to “waste time” hearing her messages. She ended her intervention affirming that she won’t beg world leaders to care for our future, but she will instead let them know that change is coming whether they like it or not. This is one of the most inspiring and powerful interventions we have witnessed here in Katowice, which is encouraging us young adults to take effective and substantial actions as soon as possible.