Greta Thunberg is 17 years old and has become one of the faces of the youth-led uprising against climate change. This summer, the Swedish teenager stood in front of the Stockholm parliament building, urging the Swedish parliament to attend an international UN climate summit, the 17th of its kind.
On Monday, she gave an impassioned speech at the Guardian Live climate debate, speaking from a panel discussion with former US vice-president Al Gore, teenage activists from Britain and Germany, and two environmental scientists.
The teens and academics delivered what was described as “groundbreaking” and “astonishing” scientific evidence on why emissions from fossil fuels are harming the planet. The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates that Earth’s temperature will likely rise by 3° Celsius to 6° Celsius by 2100. Temperatures are already increasing around 1° Celsius on average.
Thunberg has been attracting worldwide attention since mid-January, when she launched a social media campaign to force her Swedish school to send her to a climate summit in Poland this June.
“This march is about the kids. It’s a change of generation from the adults coming forward, and it’s the creation of people from the ground and that is huge. That’s in line with nature’s momentum,” she said.
Back in early January, she refused to stop protesting. Some have described it as “incredible” and “brilliant”, but others have criticised the peaceful student for not speaking for all students.
Thunberg doesn’t back down, and doesn’t seem to mind her critics who have already got her Nobel prize fantasies out of their system. She explained that she isn’t afraid of big shots, and not to let the Dutch government, Italian prime minister, Chinese president, or anyone else tell her that her activism is dangerous.
“The next generation needs to come up, with no tears, on their own,” Thunberg said. “That’s what I did, I’m not afraid.”
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