Be the Change You Want to See in the World: You Are Not Invisible

As you may have already discovered, a 16-year-old Swedish girl, Greta Thunberg, has taken climate change activism to a whole new level. Her journey to becoming a prominent figured began in August 2018 when she started the first school strike for climate change outside of her local Swedish parliament building.

Thunberg has made an appearance on TEDxStockholm, the United Nations Climate Change Conference and the World Economic Forum at Davos. Needless to say, she has built up quite a following and remains active and relevant. As of early March 2019, Thunberg has 233,000 followers on Twitter, 261,049 on Facebook and has developed a #FridaysforFuture movement.

This movement has inspired kids in dozens of countries to demand action on climate change. In result, thousands of young climate change activists around the world have refused to go to school in recent weeks, and more strikes are planned, including a worldwide strike on March 15.

Writer, Somini Sengupta recently published an article, Becoming Greta: “Invisible Girl” to Global Climate Activist, with Bumps Along the Way, in The New York Times detailing Thunberg’s journey to becoming one of the most well-known environmental child activists in the world.

Sengupta shares a quote by Thunberg offering an explanation to the title of the article. “All my life I’ve been invisible, the invisible girl in the back who doesn’t say anything. From one day to another, people listen to me. That’s a weird contrast. It’s hard.”

(Photo: Svante Thunberg/Twitter)

Although Thunberg experiences social anxiety, she has pushed through this fear and established an active appearance worldwide through social media and public appearances. Her ambition and passion for the environment has given her the attention and visibility she longed for.

Her personality is known for being quite wry, blunt and sometimes very sarcastic. This catches many people by surprise, but I believe it helps grab their attention and take her seriously. For example, Prime Minister Theresa May’s office dismissed school walkouts in Britain as a distraction that “wastes lesson time.” Thunberg was quick to strike back with a tweet saying, “But then again, political leaders have wasted 30 yrs of inaction. And that is slightly worse.”

Like anyone who may be in the public’s eye, Thunberg has had to become very careful about everything she does. She curates her social media carefully, highlighting all personal supportive environmental acts. Unfortunately, sometimes her public role brings unwelcomed attention. A picture surfaces of Thunberg on a train, eating a plastic-wrapped sandwich.

I personally think that Thunberg has initiated something really incredible, not only in a short period of time but at a very young age. She shows no sign of backing down from the fight between politicians and climate change improvements, and her following is growing more and more each day.

Let your voice be heard. The time to take action is now. Climate change is real, it’s a serious issue and it’ll only get worse if we don’t act now.

If you’re interested in joining the movement and participating in the March 15 strike, as well as future strikes, visit the official #FridaysforFuture website. Also, be sure to check out Thunberg’s active Twitter page for consistently updated information.

Students demonstrate during a ‘Youth For Climate’ strike urging pupils to skip classes to protest a lack of climate awareness in Lausanne, Switzerland, Friday, Jan. 18, 2019.

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