Greta Thunberg and the Rising Climate Movement


One year ago, Greta Thunberg walked out of school, alone, to protest inaction on climate change, and to emphasize the urgency of its disastrous effects. On September 23, 2019, she was joined in her protest by 7.6 million people around the world. It was the largest climate strike in history, led by a 16-year old with a voice that rang around the world.


Over the past year, Thunberg and her fellow youth climate activists have helped push climate change into the spotlight. Fridays for Future, the movement led by Thunberg, encourages students and youth around the world to strike for the climate, and pressure governments and corporations to act. The movement branched out across the world, and helped organize the historic September 23 climate strike. 


Thunberg also spoke at the United Nations Climate Summit on the same day, giving an impassioned and tearful speech saying, “You have stolen my dreams with your empty words.” Her four-minute speech went viral on the Internet. Many lauding her for her advocacy for the planet. However, there were also many negative comments, with some even accusing her of being an actor. Thunberg has gotten backlash from many conservative and right-wing commentators, one even comparing her to Nazi propaganda.


Thunberg isn’t the only youth activist rising to fame. She, along with fifteen others, filed a complaint with the United Nations against five countries – Germany, France, Brazil, Argentina, and Turkey – stating that the nations have violated their human rights by their inaction in fighting the climate crisis. 


Catarina Lorenzo, a 12-year-old from Salvador, Brazil, is a climate activist who was one of the sixteen to file the complaint. She was motivated to fight for the climate after observing rising temperatures and their consequences where she lived. Ridhima Pandey, an 11-year-old girl from Haridwar, India, was motivated to join the fight against climate change after she observed the effects in her community. She lives near the Ganges river, and has observed the effects of lowering water levels and then the subsequent floods when the weather changes. 


Like these activists, there are many more youths around the world raising their voices to fight for the planet. They are forced to fight because the generation before them did not, and still is not doing enough. They are fighting for a better future, and we all need to join them.