Greta Thunberg is a 17-year-old Swedish environmental activist that started her cause by skipping school to raise climate awareness. Thunberg got her claim to fame when she spent days camped out in front of the Swedish Parliament, holding a sign that read “Skolstrejk för klimatet”: “School Strike for Climate.”
Thunberg has addressed heads of state at the United Nations, met with the Pope, went head-to-head with U.S. President Donald Trump and inspired 4 million people to join the global climate strike in September 2019, in what was the largest climate demonstration in human history, according to Time magazine.
The teenage activist has now been nominated for the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize by two lawmakers in Sweden: Jens Holm and Hakan Svenneling, who are both members of Sweden’s Left Party.
Social media has played an astronomical part in the exposure of the Earth’s mortality rate and how humans are the very cause of it. Social media has become an outlet for people around the world to share their solidarity or criticisms of the cause.
But, what is there to criticize when the facts are hard to ignore?
In 2018, United Nations scientists declared that the world has less than 10 years to get climate change under control, according to The Washington Post. Just 100 companies are responsible for 71% of global emissions, according to The Guardian. A small number of fossil fuel producers, as well as investors, can be the solution in seizing climate change.
In 2019, from January to November, there were 46,706 wildfires compared with 52,080 wildfires in the same period in 2018, according to the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC). About 4.6 million acres were burned in the 2019 period, compared with 8.5 million acres in 2018.
“Average global temperature [in 2015] is 14.8°C (58.6°F), the warmest in thousands of years. The level of CO2 in the atmosphere goes above 400 ppm, the highest in millions of years,” according to Climate.gov.
Many celebrities and companies have stepped up and used their platforms to bring awareness of the unpredictable dangers of climate change and taking advantage of their platform to potentially be a part of the change.
Singer Willow Smith recently collaborated with Adidas to release a 100% recyclable sneaker that never has to be thrown away called “Futurecraft Loop”.
This is not Adidas’ first initiative to jumpstart sustainability innovations. This year, Adidas will “produce 11 million pairs of these wonderfully ‘trashy’ shoes through intercepting plastic waste on beaches, remote islands and in coastal communities,” according to the company’s website.
Adidas explains the shoes as “the beginning to the end of waste” and is set to be released in 2021.
Jaden Smith has teamed up with father Will Smith in creating a water bottle that is 80% renewable resources containing zero plastic. Smith’s Just Water was originally 50% renewable with the bottle being made up of paper until replacing it with sugarcane.
“The environmental crisis is a problem of the youth and the youth is going to be the one who has to heal this problem,” said Smith to STEM10, a new documentary series that brings together a collaboration of diverse minds and inspiring future leaders.
Actress Zazie Beetz partnered with New York City council members to pass a historic retrofit bill called the Dirty Buildings Bill that will help polluting buildings go green and cut a third of New York City’s emissions by 40%. Real estate is the cause of 70% of New York’s emissions and only 2% of those buildings create half of all the city’s pollution.
Our generation has the ability and the knowledge to make a difference on our planet that is currently dying. We are witnessing first hand the abnormal intensity and frequency of these natural disasters taking place internationally. Now that we are of age to vote we can emphasize this crisis and take it into our own hands.
“I want you to panic,” Thunberg told the annual convention of CEOs and world leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in January. “I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. And then I want you to act.”
Thunberg’s fearless efforts to combat climate change, tackle policies and talk politics with world leaders is more than any (probably Greta herself) expected a teenager to accomplish. Awards given to advocates for change like Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela and former U.S. President Barack Obama. Greta Thunberg, to me, holds symbolism of the actual change the newer generations can and will bring in the coming years.
This is the Earth we have been left with, how do you want to leave it?
This editorial expresses the unanimous opinion of The Rider News Editorial Board. This week’s editorial was written by Opinion Editor Qur’an Hansford