Greta Thunberg

How Greta Thunberg Incited Global Climate Action

How Greta Thunberg Incited Global Climate Action

If we learned one thing in 2018 it’s this: never underestimate today’s school children.

It has been almost a year since 16-year-old climate activist, Greta Thunberg, sat alone on the steps of Swedish parliament holding a hand-painted sign and demanding legislative change. At the time she attracted little more than mild concern from passers-by.

Today her TED Talk has more than 1.6 million views, her Twitter has 362k followers and she is credited with spearheading the largest global movement of climate action in history – proving that one person can inspire millions to act. In March, it was announced that Greta had been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize after her #FridaysforFuture movement inspired school children in more than 100 countries worldwide to skip school and march against climate change.

Greta has become the unlikely voice of a generation, the representative of a global cohort of politically aware youth that is standing up to power. What is it about Greta and her story that resonates with so many people, particularly young people?

When Greta was 11 she was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and Selective Mutism, which by her own admission, means that she only speaks when she believes it is necessary. In her TED Talk she explains that people with Aspergers are not good liars and tend to see the world “in black and white”. What some might see as a barrier, is the source of her greatest strengths.

Greta’s unique perspective allows her to spell out the obvious solution to a problem. It is precisely this directness that is so inspiring. With so many leaders and politicians pushing off climate action to a later date, Greta is a powerful voice demanding change today.

We hope politicians and business leaders take notice. Only by speeding up the transition to a fossil-free and carbon-neutral economy can we avoid the catastrophic impacts of climate change – and we have 12 years to do it.

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