The Sunday before Earth Day – Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old high school student from Sweden – gave a rousing speech to gathered Londoners taking part in a week-long protest against climate change. A portion of the teen’s speech reportedly included this promise, “We will never stop fighting, we will never stop fighting for this planet, for ourselves, our futures and for the futures of our children and grandchildren…”
Sunday’s speech was not Thunberg’s first appearance at an environmental protest. The Swedish teen began her crusade to combat climate change in 2018 after organizing a protest outside of Swedish Parliament. She invited peers to join her each Friday in front of parliament to demand the government take more effective steps towards combatting climate change. Her movement, now known as Fridays for Future, has since taken off. These days, thousands of student protesters gather each Friday in front of government offices around the globe.
Thunberg told The Guardian her passion for fixing the environment began when she was eight years old after seeing a video in school illustrating the impact of humans on the Earth. Thunberg found herself unable to stop thinking about images from the video, such as plastics floating in the ocean. A conviction to do something about climate change was born. It would take six years before Thunberg was able to put a plan into action and Fridays for Future came onto the scene. She’s been going full-steam ever since.
Diagnosed with Aspergers at age 12, Thunberg credits the condition for her focus and tenacity to confront leadership about the effects of climate change. Her rousing speeches are known for their sharp and direct tone, which spare no blame for those she believes are standing in the way of progress.
Thunberg’s work has been getting her noticed. Earlier this year the high school student was named as one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People, an honor she shared with fellow nominees like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and former First Lady Michelle Obama.
In March, the environmental activist received attention from a new source, the Nobel Prize Committee. Three Norwegian members of parliament entered Thunberg’s name in the running for the Nobel Peace Prize. If she wins, the Swede will be the youngest person to ever win the award.
The winners, known collectively as Nobel Laureates, will be announced at the December 10th ceremony hosted in Oslo, Norway. Until then, Thunberg plans to continue fighting for change. You can follow her progress, and get further information on what you can do to stem the effects of climate change, by following the her on Twitter.