Environmental activist and 16-year-old Swedish school student Greta Thunberg is the young woman behind the global movement of student activism for climate action.
Last year, Thunberg started skipping school every Friday, leading student protests outside parliament in Stockholm. This action has quickly grown into a global movement of school students following her lead and this year, thousands of students across the world are taking part in climate strikes during school hours.
And she’s been stepping things up in the past couple of weeks, particularly as she is getting more and more attention.
At the World Economic Forum in Switzerland, Thunberg appealed to global business leaders, telling them, “the bigger the carbon footprint, the bigger the platform, the bigger responsibility to lead.”
In the video below, her soft voice silenced the packed room as she stated, “I don’t want your hope. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I do. Every day. And want you to act. I want you to behave like our house is on fire. Because it is.”
“If you still say that we are wasting valuable lesson time, then let me remind you that our political leaders have wasted decades through denial and inaction.”
More recently, Thunberg has said the EU needs to double its climate change reduction targets and that it was not enough to simply hope that young people are going to save the world.
“There is simply not enough time to wait for us to grow up and become the ones in charge,” she said.
Despite being across the world, Thunberg is acutely aware of the lack of political leadership on climate action in Australia.
This week, NSW education minister Rob Stokes warned students and teachers against joining the climate rally scheduled for March 15 across Australia. He added that he has advised principals of NSW public schools that action must be taken for “truancy”.
To that, Thunberg tweeted from Sweden “we don’t care” and that “your statement belongs in a museum”.
— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) February 19, 2019
Previously, she has said Australia is a “huge climate villain” with a significant carbon footprint and that students here can make a huge difference.