A teen fighting for a better future

By LILIAN MOHR

Greta Thunberg is rapidly becoming a household name as her mission to fight climate change as an environmental activist makes her a modern example of the powerful younger generations. In August of 2018, Thunberg started her campaign by striking from school. This simple act has inspired magnitudes of teenagers today to do the same. Inspired by her famous Friday school strikes for climate change, there has been the creation of organizations like Fridays For Future which organize international climate strikes to draw attention to these issues. 

She proved that even a teenager can play an active role in these political issues of climate change when, according to CNN, she set an example for the adults by sailing across the Atlantic on an emissions-free yacht to speak at the U.N. Climate Action Summit where she gave a speech to a room full of people where most of them were old enough to be her parents. 

The locations that Greta Thunberg has traveled to protest climate change and met with other leaders and activists to discuss future plans. ( Ethic Infographic/ Mauricio Pliego)

The young climate activist even stood up to arguably one of the most powerful politicians on the planet, President Donald Trump at the World Economic Forum on Jan. 21, 2020. Thunberg followed his speech about the changes the nation plans to make in the future to fight climate climate change, criticizing the lack of immediate and drastic action that is not being taken. She stated that the president’s administration’s plan to work with the One Trillion Tree Project is “nowhere near enough of what is needed and can not replace real mitigation and rewilding nature.” Where others, adults included, may back down to such powerful people, Thunberg proves that there is strength in the younger generations and power in her fearlessness. 

Moore Middle School students pose with their climate change posters which were then placed around the school in the hopes of spreading awareness to the other students and staff. (Photo Credit to Kelly Welsh)

Through the use of social media and the news, Thunberg’s mission has become something that is accessible to a large population of the world’s youth, allowing her impact to inspire this new generation to take action in order to make real change for their own futures. 

Thunberg is also gaining international attention from celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio, through posts on Instagram demonstrating his support for the activists and politicians like Congress Woman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, when the pair met in person to discuss the future. She was also named Times’ Person of the Year, skyrocketing her fame even more so. 

Moore Middle School students work on a climate change poster in a classroom. (Photo credit Kelly Welsh)

Being promoted by people, that even teenagers who may not be closely following politicians know and love, allows Thunberg to reach even more people. Her impact can even be seen in the high school students that attend Redlands East Valley High School. 

Junior at REV, Christina Vargas, stated that “she made me realize, because she is so close in age to us, that even the youth of America can do something about these issues that can hopefully make an even larger impact on the world.” She added, “It’s not just up to the politicians anymore.”

Madeline Lee, also a junior at REV stated that “she is literally an example for our generation that anyone can make real change even if it is through what others may call ‘small actions’.”

Influential activists across the world, such as Thunberg are making real change from young ages and as these younger generations begin to not only participate in strikes and protests but become voters in future elections, change will continue to grow. Thunberg serves as an example that age does not define your strength and anyone can create change if they take action. 

Featured photo: Moore Middle School students hold up climate change awareness. (Photo credit to Kelly Welsh)

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