Loud and Clear

Updated: Apr 6, 2021

By: Tiffany Lu



Who is this environmentalist:

Although she was born in 2003, this individual has gained worldwide recognition for her activism and courage. This individual is named Greta Thunberg. Thunberg was born in Stockholm Sweden to a famous opera singer and an actor. Thunberg’s father is actually a descendant of 1903 winner of the Nobel Prize of Chemistry: Svante Arrhenius. Arrhenius was known for his model of the greenhouse effect. Despite her young age, Greta Thunberg is an inspiration to young teens throughout the globe.


How did her activism begin:

Thunberg learned about the climate emergency from a young age. At the age of 11, she was devoured by depression and slowly began to turn into a different person. In multiple media interviews, her parents describe the heartbreak as they notice Thunberg’s mental health deteriorate. The young activist had stopped eating, stopped going to school, and stopped smiling. Seeing these alarming signs, her parents halted their career activities and tried to get Thunberg some help. Doctors had diagnosed Thunberg with OCD, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, and Asperger's - a form of autism, which makes it hard for individuals to express and recognize their feelings.

In the following years, the Thunberg began researching about the climate emergency and its horrors. This enraged Greta, for she called her parents hypocrites as they led non-eco-friendly lifestyles and adopted unethical values. Giving in their child’s words and distress, Thunberg’s parents began adopting sustainable swaps and alternatives. In the spring of 2018, Thunberg had entered and won into climate change essay contest for her local newspaper. This set the stage for a whole new era of protests.

Thunberg then decided to take her activism to the streets. After a pattern of wildfires and abnormal weather changes, Thunberg had camped outside the Swedish Parliament. Holding up the sign ‟School strike for Climate‟, Thunberg had the goal of continuing her protests until Sweden had accomplished the carbon emissions level as promised in the Paris Conference in 2015. Her street protests and activism grew viral along with the hashtag - FridaysForTheFuture, encouraging students to skip school in order to demand government action to combat climate change.


Gaining Recognition:

By the end of 2018, Thunberg had gained international recognition as thousands of students globally, joined her strike. Thunberg has documented her school strike every week on social media, where she currently has 10.5 million Instagram followers as well as 4.9 million Twitter followers. Since then, the teen has gone onto accomplish endless success. She spoke at a United Nations Conference in 2019, where her speech had also gone viral for her iconic and powerful words. In addition, Thunberg had refused to take a plane to the conference, in an attempt to reduce her carbon footprint. In January of 2020, Thunberg was invited to attend the World Economic Forum in Switzerland and delivered 2 speeches highlighting the climate emergency. She then was invited European Parliament's Environment Committee, a meeting targeting Climate Laws. There she talked with politicians on the recent climate laws and details.


Accomplishments:

Greta’s influence on the public, especially politicians was named the ‟Greta Effect‟. Her hardwood and unwithering passion for change were demonstrated by the vast nomination and awards for her activism. In 2019, Thunberg won the Fritt Ord Award, Rachel Carson Prize, Ambassador of Conscience Award Right Livelihood Award, International Children's Peace Prize, Time Person of the Year. Thunberg had also won the Nordic Council Environment Prize Gulbenkian Prize for Humanity in 2020. From 2018 to 2020, Thunberg was nominated for the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize three consecutive times. It is therefore not an understatement to claim that Greta Thunberg is an individual ahead of her time.


Criticism:

Along with her explosive fame came a handful of criticisms, mockery, and hate. One look into her social media comments will go to prove this claim. Trolls and climate change deniers went on to ridicule her speeches, intelligence, and mental disorders. Multiple politicians have jumped on that bandwagon. For instance, former President Donald J. Trump has countless Twitter Tweets attacking the young teen. After Thunberg was named Times’s person of the year, Trump tweeted ‟So ridiculous. Greta must work on her anger management problem, then go to a good old-fashioned movie with a friend! Chill Greta, Chill!‟ This is only one of the few insults targeted at the teen activists by the 74-year-old former president. Though Thunberg then playfully recycles this tweet back at Trump, one can not deny the hate is disgraceful and upsetting. Thankfully, none of her haters will stop the 18-year-old on her track for a sustainable future.


Conclusions:

In my opinion, Thunberg is one of the most impactful and tough environmentalists, leaders, and activists. She turned her pain and struggles into heartfelt, influential speeches. Despite her mental health challenges, Thunberg was able to demonstrate that young people are no longer going to let politicians ignore the alarming effects of climate change. She is my role model. She is someone I admire. She is Greta Thunberg.


Sources:

Elms, Emma. “Greta Thunberg - Meet The Family Behind The Icon.” #TOGETHERBAND, #TOGETHERBAND, 13 Oct. 2020, togetherband.org/blogs/news/greta-thunberg-parents.

“Greta Thunberg: Who Is She and What Does She Want?” BBC News, BBC, 28 Feb. 2020, www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-49918719#:~:text=She%20is%20a%2017%2Dyear,model%20of%20the%20greenhouse%20effect.

Greta Thunberg's Father: 'She Is Happy, but I WORRY'. 30 Dec. 2019, www.bbc.com/news/uk-50901789.

Woodward, Aylin. “Greta Thunberg Turns 17 Today. Here's How She Started a Global Climate Movement in Just 18 Months.” Business Insider, Business Insider, 3 Jan. 2020, www.businessinsider.com/greta-thunberg-bio-climate-change-activist-2019-9.

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