The Climate Change Activist Who is Changing the World

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Posted on: October 10, 2019

Climate change has been an issue that we have been familiar with since at least 1956, if not before, when an article in the New York Times clearly articulated that accumulating greenhouse gas emissions would lead to long-lasting environmental changes. We now know that if we allow global temperatures to rise by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius, the world will undergo possibly catastrophic changes. Picture the Earth 100 years from now. If we keep doing what we are doing now, it’ll look like something out of a science fiction dystopian novel. Sea levels will rise by almost two feet, putting cities like Shanghai, Rio de Janeiro, and Amsterdam at risk, and effectively displacing the people living in them. Global climate change is on track to redraw the map of the world, and it doesn’t look pretty. In fact, a very special individual has stated that “I want you to act as if the house is on fire, because it is.” This individual is none other than Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old who is rattling the world with her climate change activism that includes school strikes for climate change, and speeches to organisations like the EU Parliament and the World Economic Forum.

With the fervor and intensity of someone who just wants to see a brighter and healthier future for the world, Greta Thunberg is leading a movement that is calling for governments to act immediately in order to avoid irreversible chain reactions that could place us past the point of no return, a tipping point that will decide whether or not we experience a total climate breakdown. Her powerful and emotional speeches have been shaming world leaders for not acting and for spewing out empty promises that are failing to move us forward on this issue. Her recent speech at the United Nations climate summit gave a powerful message to political and business leaders: “We are at the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth.” If we continue going about our business as usual, we will have exhausted our CO2 emissions budget within the next 8 and a half years. Thunberg’s message to the world’s leaders is simply: “We’ll be watching you”.

The youth of today will be the driving force of tomorrow. We want a world in which we can still go outside and breathe clean air without having to worry about our health, a world in which wildlife can live and thrive, and where marine species can survive. A world that doesn’t have to worry about losing its forests and biodiversity to rising temperatures and shrinking ecosystems. We are already beginning to feel the effects of our actions: Up to 200 species are already becoming extinct every single day, and extreme heat is threatening our health, energy, and culture. The science has already proposed a number of viable solutions to the facts, all we need to do is act on them. So, in the words of Greta Thunberg, “everything needs to change – and it has to start today.”

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