27 Dec

Meet The Swedish Teenager Protesting Climate Change Every Friday

Meet The Swedish Teenager Protesting Climate Change Every Friday

A Swedish teenager, Greta Thunberg, has been protesting every Friday outside Sweden’s parliament to demand that leaders do more about climate change.

The McGlynn:

Karin Bäckstrand, a climate-policy researcher at Stockholm University, wrote that climate policy wasn’t an election issue precisely because a broad national consensus exists. “Everyone except the [far right] Swedish Democrats agree that we should become fossil-free,” she said.

Thunberg calls BULLSHIT on the consensus. She points out that, despite Sweden’s progressive legislation and the scientific consensus that rich countries must cut their emissions by fifteen per cent a year, in Sweden actual emissions had gone up 3.6 per cent in the first quarter of this year. She has written a piece called “Sweden is not a role model,” in which she points out that even the best-laid plans to address climate change make no attempt to look beyond the year 2050. “By then I will, in the best case, not even have lived half my life,” she wrote. “What happens next?”

The McGlynn

Thunberg, a 15-year-old who has Asperger’s syndrome, began a solo climate protest by striking from school in Sweden in August. Since then to now, more than 20,000 students around the world have joined her. School strikes for climate change have struck in at least 270 towns and cities in countries across the world, including Australia, the United Kingdom, Belgium, the US and Japan, The Guardian reported.

In a blog post, the Swedish student asked a very hard-hitting question:

“If burning fossil fuels was so bad, that it threatened our very existence, how could we just continue like before? Why were there no restrictions? Why wasn’t it made illegal?”

‘Will the Future Exist Beyond 2050?’

Greta was first introduced to the idea of climate change when she was nine, she said in her blog-post. Thunberg’s parents are Svante Thunberg, an actor, and Malena Ernman, a well-known opera singer.

In her post, she questions the efforts made by world leaders and the common man, to tackle the growing problem of climate change. “They (people) keep saying that climate change is an existential threat and the most important issue of all. And yet they just carry on like before. If the emissions have to stop then we must stop the emissions. To me, that is black or white. There are no grey areas when it comes to survival. Either we go on as a civilisation or we don’t. We have to change.”

Citing the growing danger of climate change, and especially global warming, she warns how the general dismissive attitude towards the problem would endanger our very future.

“If I live to be 100 I will be alive in the year 2103. When you think about “the future” today, you don’t think beyond the year 2050. By then I will, in the best case, not even have lived half of my life. What happens next?” she asks, in her blog post.

‘Climate Change is Already Solved. We Just Need to Wake Up’

When Greta started her protests for leaders to take up the issue of climate change outside the steps of the Swedish Parliament in August, she would be there every day and be questioned on why she was opting to be there instead of attending her school, she says.

“Some people say that I should be in school instead. Some people say that I should study to become a climate scientist so that I can ‘solve the climate crisis’.”
Greta Thunberg 

“But the climate crisis has already been solved,” she says in her blog-post. “We already have all the facts and solutions. All we have to do is to wake up and change.”

‘World Leaders “Irresponsible” For Skipping UN Climate Summit’

Greta Thunberg. Greta Thunberg. (Photo: AP)

Greta, who traveled to Katowice, Poland, for the start of the two-week talks of the UN climate summit in the first week of December, told The Associated Press that the world leaders who skipped the summit were “very irresponsible.”

She even delivered a speech on Monday, 3 December, to some of the decision-makers at the conference.

Speaking afterward to The Associated Press, Thunberg said the absence of leaders such as US President Donald Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel “shows what they prioritise.”

Thunberg, who protests outside the Swedish parliament each Friday, said of politicians not in attendance: “In the future we will look back, and we will either laugh at them or we will hate them.”

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