Greta Thunberg, a Teen Climate Activist, from Stockholm, Sweden, was just 8 years old when she learned about the science of climate change. She did not understand why so little was being done to protect the world’s environment.
By the time she was 11, she decided it was time to make some change herself. Greta made a promise that she would do everything she could do in her power to help fix things. So, she started to make personal changes along with her family to reduce their impact on the environment.
After Greta turned 15, she wanted to have a bigger impact. So, she started to take her case to the Swedish Government. Every week, she would show up outside the Swedish Parliament with a call for her country’s leaders to take more action on climate change. She held up a sign that read Skolstrejk för klimatet or “School Strike for Climate”. Her protest began after the heat waves and wildfires during Sweden’s hottest summer in over 250 years.
Other students in Sweden started to do the same thing with their local communities. Greta’s small action turned into a national movement called “Fridays for Future”. Government leaders in Sweden began taking notice.
Greta’s Global Impact
Then, the movement started to catch on around the world and millions of children joined in from all over the globe! In 2018 and 2019, Greta spoke at two climate change events at the United Nations and another at the World Economic Forum. She met with the Pope and Government leaders from around the world. Her speeches were replayed around the world and her impact grew greater.
In September of 2019, she inspired 4 million people to join a global climate protest around the world. It was the largest climate event in human history.
For many years, scientists had tried to get world leaders to take more notice of climate change. Greta, still just a teenager, had now clearly gotten the attention of the world’s leaders.
In fact, her impact was so great, that Time Magazine named her their person of the year in 2019!
Greta’s impact seems to be helping things change faster. More countries, companies, and people have been committing to making big changes in their behaviors.
Here is a video that tells Greta’s story:
Greta credits her impact to her Aspergers syndrome, a form of Autism, that she calls a gift. According to Greta, it gives her focus, perseverance, and ability to see the big picture. It is her superpower.
Inspiring Quotes from Greta Thurnberg
- “I have learned you are never too small to make a difference.”
- “I want you to act as if the house is on fire, because it is.”
- “Together and united, we are unstoppable.”
- “You must take action. You must do the impossible. Because giving up is never an option.”
Greta Thunberg is a shining example of the power of kids to make a difference in the world. Learn more about her below and how you can take action to help improve our environment and reduce climate change.
- Learn more about Greta Thunberg on Wikipedia and Time Magazine
- Read other IMK stories about the environment
- Learn more about the science of climate change thanks to NatGeo
Topics for Discussion:
- What does climate change mean to you? What is the impact of climate change?
- How is Greta different from most teenagers?
- Does Greta have a disability? Or a gift?
- Have you ever felt passion for something you wanted to change?
- Here is InspireMyKids playbook to taking action to protect the environment
- Learn how you can make change and take personal action to improve the environment thanks to NASA
- Check out careers and jobs that help improve the planet and make a difference with the environment
- Check out the Action for Nature community which encourages young people to take action to nurture and protect the environment.
- Here is a link to a Critical Reading Skills worksheet that you can use for elementary school students.
- Here is a link to a Critical Reading Skills worksheet that you can use for middle school students.