“Do you think Sweden is taking relatively better steps to fight climate change?”
“Of course not! We are in the top ten countries in terms of per capita carbon footprint according to WWF.” Greta Thunberg responded determinedly and boldly.
The reporter also asked her, “What would you like to say to countries like India?”.
“I think the people of India have the right to improve their standard of living first, here in Sweden we have everything we need and that is why we have more responsibility.”
These are the words of a 16-year-old teenager, which she shared while answering the questions of an Indian journalist last year. Today, that girl is an emblem of the global movement taking place across the world and everyone is appreciating her.
Greta Thunberg is a 16-year-old Swedish teenager. Read the above words once again; in these words, her concern for the global problem of climate change, as well as her understanding of the global dimensions of the climate change is evident.
Whereas, on this issue, US President Donald Trump announced two years ago, that the US was withdrawing from the Paris Agreement. He argued that India, Russia, and China were doing nothing to stop pollution, while the United States gave millions of dollars towards this cause. In my opinion, the truth is the opposite. India is also one of the countries affected by the climate change crisis.
Carbon emission reductions will have the greatest impact on fast-growing economies like India. By 2030, India has set a target of reducing its carbon emissions by 33–35 percent, over 2005. Also, UNEP’s emission gap report was sufficient to prove Trump’s allegation false. The report said that, of the G-20 countries, that account for the majority of emissions, only the European Union, India and China are following the targets. The truth is that Trump included the issue of separating the US from the Paris Climate Agreement in his election agenda, so Trump’s move was seen as fulfilling his election promise.
Greta has become a role model for her teenager peers around the world; this is at a time when teenagers in our country are busy being a part of the ‘tik-tok’ revolution, and adults are getting honorary degrees from WhatsApp University.
If we look into Greta’s past, we see that she came to know about the problem of climate change at the age of 11 and she was so sensitive that she went into depression due to this.
After nearly four years, when she recovered from depression last year, she decided that something had to be done about it. So, she started leaving school every Friday and in August last year, she started demonstrating outside Sweden’s Parliament in Stockholm.
Greta stopped going to school in 2018 at the age of 15 to protest against climate change. This movement soon went global. An estimated 1.6 million children from 125 countries demonstrated on the streets during protests in mid-March and a youth-led demonstration was planned around the world on September 20, 2019.
16-year-old Greta attracted worldwide attention with her determination. She has become a superstar of the climate change movement across the world. She has been called to speak at many international meetings and conferences. Thunberg is famous for her blunt but soft-spoken style. She spoke at the United Nations meeting on climate change in Poland in December last year, at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January. She has spoken in the British Parliament in London, the Parliament of Italy and the European Parliament in France.
On September 17, in Washington DC, she addressed Climate Change Committees and the US Congress. Three other children had come from different countries. In front of the committees and lawmakers, Greta made her point that America and other countries should be serious about the climate crisis.
She said, “Stop telling people that everything will be fine when in fact, as it looks now, it won’t be very fine. This is not something you can package and sell or ”like” on social media.”
Greta pointed at how President Trump withdrew the US from the Paris Agreement. The Paris Agreement was reached to set a goal of reducing carbon and greenhouse gas emissions. While addressing the US Congress, Greta fiercely said that America is the largest carbon-producing country in the history of the world. “The USA is the biggest carbon polluter in history. It is also the world’s number one producer of oil. And yet, you are also the only nation in the world that has signalled your strong intention to leave the Paris Agreement. Because quote “it was a bad deal for the USA”.”
It’s not that she is only preaching to us, she is practising all the small, but basics of a healthy climate. She has decided not to fly. She travels by land or by boat in the sea. She has crossed the Atlantic in two weeks by a solar-powered boat. This boat does not emit carbon. At this age, Greta took such a big risk. She reached America, challenging the sea breeze; bad weather delayed her arrival in New York.
On 14th August, she left from Plymouth port in Britain. After travelling more than two and a half thousand nautical miles, she reached New York; there were many teenager and people to welcome her. Within Europe, she travels by train. Her argument is that planes release too much carbon, which affects the climate. And if we are to believe international news media reports, she and her family are also vegans.
These words by the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres are a reminder of how important Greta Thunberg’s work really is, “My generation has failed to respond properly to the dramatic challenge of climate change. It is deeply felt by young people. No wonder they are angry.”