Meet Greta Thunberg, the climate activist who “dared” world leaders into action

US President Donald Trump may pooh-pooh Greta Thunberg for her fierce speech against climate crisis at the United Nations Climate Action Assembly. However, 16-year-old Greta is not one to give up without a good fight. Her address at the UN held all world leaders accountable for their lack of action against the impending climate crisis. More importantly, for betraying their generation by leaving the planet worse than it was before.

“This is all wrong. I shouldn’t be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you!” the climate activist from Sweden lashed out at the UN. She argued that while we may have a 67% chance of staying below a 1.5 degrees global temperature rise, present numbers show that we are quite close to blowing this chance as well.

Greta was an ordinary school-going kid until she realised that no one would give a damn about the imminent climate catastrophe. She was all of 15 when she sat for her very first school strike in front of the Swedish Parliament on August 20, 2018, in response to Sweden’s hottest summer in at least 260 years. Even her parents found it bizarre that a schoolgirl was bunking classes for a climate strike. Nevertheless, Greta persisted, handing out fliers that read, “I am doing this because you adults are shitting on my future.”

Fast-forward a year later, Greta has managed to garner support not only from the West but also from major Indian cities. While many India might dismiss Greta’s efforts calling it a publicity stunt, others may have realised by now that the recent rise in natural disasters like flash floods and landslides are consequences of the global climate crisis. A 2010 report by INCCA (Indian Network for Climate Change and Assessment) predicted that 2021–2050 would see an increase in flood events across the country due to a rise in temperatures.

Thus, our only hope lies in immediate action and as Greta rightly puts it: “To act as if the house is already on fire — because it is.”

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