On 21st of October 2020, the youth climate activist Greta Thunberg and the legendary natural storyteller Sir David Attenborough went on for a conversation about an agenda that many consider unrealistic: how to solve the climate crisis and save the planet? One may wonder, what gives them the right to discuss anything of that scale? And Aren’t we fine without such discussions after all?
‘No, we are not fine’ says Greta, a 17 years old reticent Swedish girl whose works have inspired a lot of youths across the globe. She recalls having heard about climate change at an early eight years of age and it made her depressed. ‘I am not an optimist nor a pessimist. I am a realist!’ she argues. Knowing the fact that the so-called leaders of the world were running riot in regards to natural resource consumption patterns and leaving a behemoth of carbon footprints, she felt outrageous. She determined that she would turn her desperation into action. Yeah, it’s easy to stand in a crowd but takes courage to stand alone. And you can never doubt the courage of Greta.
‘I am not an optimist nor a pessimist. I am a realist!’
She did what she thought was normal, performing her democratic right. She stood in front of the Swedish parliament asking for climate action from his nation’s leaders. But it never crossed her mind that it could turn into a global revolution making her an instant celebrity in the eyes of millions. And she loathes this attention. ‘One may portray me as a savior which obviously is an over hype. I think such practice distracts from what needs to be seriously prioritized and dealt with’, Greta conveyed. Who knew that standing in front of the parliament demanding climate actions would be the worldwide phenomena. She Initially did it every day for a couple of weeks, and later made it a weekly event.
Her determination and action plan connected so many. “It started happening in other cities of Sweden, then in the Netherlands, then in Finland. Then …….. it was quickly spreading. The huge support from Australia boosted it to another level”, she discussed. The strike is at 112th week and even in the midst of a pandemic, the advocacy is in full swing. Maybe our thoughts are programmed to feel powerless in tackling something as big as the climate crisis but she has empowered not only hundreds or thousands but millions across the globe.
She was so serious about this issue that she decided not to get into the flight to travel to the United States for the 2019 UN climate action summit. She floated into the yacht, crossing the Atlantic ocean that took her two weeks. ‘But, it’s not like I dread those experiences. That was actually a lifetime experience and a big opportunity. And I enjoyed every moment in it’.
A big hard rock can’t be hammered down at a single strike. It requires patience, consistent effort and strategy. Greta believes the fight for climate solutions is just like that. She urges people to first understand the magnitude of the problem. Educating oneself through active reading, being open to a healthy discussion, looking for scientific publication and making a habit of checking fact-based articles and spreading more to the circle can be the head start. At the end it’s not an individual problem and the world needs to be united. And more than that Greta emphasized, ‘We all need to practice the active democratic right of speaking for anything that’s unfairly treated: not only on behalf of a victimized person but for a living breathing Earth as well.’
(Another part of this story will be published soon)