Teen climate activist sparks conversation across globe

Grace Strayer, Editor-in-Chief of On The Prowl

Sixteen-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg is taking the world by storm. The Swedish teen has been in the public eye recently for her participation in the global climate strike. However, this isn’t the first time that Thunberg has made news.

The climate activist is best known for her “School Strike for Climate” protest on the steps of Sweden’s parliament in August of 2018 according to BBC. From there, her momentum has picked up and millions, young and old, are following her footsteps.

As of recent, Thunberg traveled to the United States via “racing sailboat” according to TIME. Traveling by boat meant that Thunberg was not leaving a carbon footprint. Leaving Plymouth, England, Thunberg arrived in New York City on Aug. 28 after a 15-day journey at sea.

Thunberg spoke at the United Nations Action Climate Summit on Sept. 23. During her speech, she focused on policy and leaders at large.

“The popular idea of cutting our emissions in half in 10 years only gives us a 50 percent chance of staying below 1.5 degrees Celsius and the risk of setting off irreversible chain reactions beyond human control,” Thunberg said.

According to her, this statistic doesn’t account for what she describes as “tipping points, feedback loops and additional warming added by toxic air pollution.”

Adding to this, she described how these rates will depend on younger generations, saying, “They [the statistics] also rely on my generation sucking hundreds of billions of tons of your CO2, out of the air with technologies that barely exist.”

Central York senior Abigail Lamison is also an advocate for the environment. Her views align with that of Thunberg’s regarding greenhouse gasses and policy. Lamison focuses on doing her part by reducing the amount of waste she uses.

“Some things that I do to reduce my environmental impact is minimizing my use of single-use plastics, composting, recycling, participating in conservation projects,” she said.

Like Thumberg, Lamison also knows that policy and leaders are the ones who have the most potential to enact change.

Greta Thunberg arrives in New York City after traveling across the Atlantic Ocean on The Malizia II, a racing yacht. Photo by Johannes Eisele.

Lamison said, “The people who are elected into local, state or federal government can have tremendous impacts on the environment. Doing research and making sure you are informed with your vote can help elect people into office who will make the environment and conservation a priority.”