Climate change activist, an inspiration for humanity

Dr. Vivak Manohar Arya
Ajay Thakur
Our planet is passing through a period of dramatic growth and fundamental change. Our human world of 7.7 billion must make room in a predetermined environment for another human world. The planet’s average surface temperature has risen about 1.62 degrees Fahrenheit (0.9 oC) since the late 19th century. The Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets have decreased in mass. Glaciers are receding almost everywhere around the world – including in the Alps, Himalayas, Andes, Rockies, Alaska and Africa. Global sea level rose about eight inches in the last century. Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the acidity of surface ocean waters has increased by about 30%. The World Commission on Environment and Development first met in October 1984 & published its report 900 days later, in April 1987. Over those few days: A leak from a pesticides factory in Bhopal, India, killed more than 2,500 people and blinded and injured over 200,000 more. The Chernobyl nuclear reactor explosion sent nuclear fallout across Europe, increasing the risks of future human cancers. Liquid gas tanks exploded in Mexico City, killing 1,000 and leaving thousands more homeless. There is no longer an excuse not to act on climate change and push the burden onto future generations. We’re already seeing the devastating effects of climate change on global food supplies, increasing migration, conflict, disease and global instability, and this will only get worse if we don’t act now. “Everything needs to change and it has to start today” ,Greta Thunberg.
Greta Thunberg a Swedish environmental activist who is credited with raising global awareness of the risks posed by climate change, and with holding politicians to account for their lack of action on the climate crisis. Thunberg took time off school to demonstrate outside the Swedish parliament, holding up a sign calling for stronger climate action. Soon, other students engaged in similar protests in their own communities. Together they organized a school climate strike movement under the name “Fridays for Future”. After Thunberg addressed the 2018 United Nations Climate Change Conference, student strikes took place every week somewhere in the world. Thunberg was featured on the cover of Time magazine, which named her a “next generation leader” and noted that many see her as a role model. Some media have described her impact on the world stage as the “Greta Thunberg effect”. Thunberg is known for her blunt, matter-of-fact speaking manner both in public and to political leaders and assemblies, in which she urges immediate action to address what she describes as the “climate crisis”. Thunberg says she first heard about climate change in 2011, when she was 8 years old, and could not understand why so little was being done about it. Three years later she was diagnosed with a sperger syndrome, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and selective mutism. She does not view her autism as an illness and has instead called it her “superpower”.
Thunberg published a collection of her climate action speeches, No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference, in May 2019 with the earnings being donated to charity. As her protest gained momentum, she was invited to gives speeches at a variety of forums which enabled her to expand on her concerns. Thunberg acknowledges that she is not a climate scientist: she is merely a messenger who is repeating what scientists have been communicating to the public for decades, so far without much success. She says if everyone listened to the scientists and acknowledged the facts, “then we (students) could all go back to school”. In one of her first statements she had a similar message for the President of USA, Donald Trump, admonishing him to “listen to the science”.
In November 2018, about three months into her school climate strike, Thunberg was nominated for the Children’s Climate Prize, which is awarded by the Swedish electricity company Telge Energi. Later that year, Thunberg was awarded the Fryshuset scholarship of the Young Role Model of the Year, woman of the year in Sweden in 2019, the German Goldene Kamera Special Climate Protection award& she was also nominated as a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize. In April 2019, Time magazine named Thunberg as one of the 100 most influential people of 2019. Activist Greta Thunberg delivered an emotional and scathing speech at the United Nations, accusing world leaders of stealing her dreams and her childhood with their inaction on climate change.
(The authors are from SKUAST-J and are working in the field of Climate Change and NRM)


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