On August 20, it will be exactly two years since 15-years-old Greta Thunberg from Sweden sat outside the Swedish parliament with a placard yelling ‘SKOLSTREK JK FOR KLIMATET’ or ‘School Strike for Climate.’
Like today, two years back the world was still drowned in the climate crisis, with the nature slipping out of a possible return to safety, little-by-little, in broad daylight.
For 15-years-old Greta, refusing to go to school was the most effective way to protest for the global political inactivity over the environmental crisis. If politicians don’t bother facts (that nature is drowning) why to go to school, she argued.
“I am doing this because nobody else is doing anything. It is my moral responsibility to do what I can,” Thunberg told the Guardian back in 2018 when asked why she’s on a strike.
Two years have gone in between, and from a diminutive Swiss teenager going on school strikes several days a week in a row, she went on to become a global symbol for the cause.
“[…]when it comes to action we are still in a state of denial,” the 18-years-old climate activist writes in a column in the Guardian, which is co-authored by youth climate activists Luisa Neubauer from Germany, Adélaïde Charlier from Belgium and Anuna de Wever from Belgium.
They say, in two years a lot has changed – millions have come to the streets to protest and pressurize governments to take action on climate change, the European Union declared a climate and environmental emergency, and on the same time-frame the world has also emitted more than 80 gigatonnes of CO2.
“We have seen continuous natural disasters taking place across the globe: wildfires, heatwaves, flooding, hurricanes, storms, thawing of permafrost, and collapsing of glaciers and whole ecosystems. Many lives and livelihoods have been lost. And this is only the very beginning,” the youth environmental activists write in the Guardian column.
Virtually every major political and activism summits that have taken place in recent times have discussed climate change, yet “the gap between what we need to do and what’s actually being done is widening by the minute,” they write. Because the crisis is never being taken as a crisis.
The youth climate activists noted, more than 22% of the ‘historic accumulative global emissions’ are a contribution of the EU and the UK (2nd only to the US), which they say, is immoral of these countries’ part, since nations that have least contributed to the cause are the worst sufferers.
Thunberg and the authors of the Guardian column say they’ve published an open letter last month where they have demanded changes on the part of Germany and global leaders to address climate change. The letter has till now amassed 124.710 signatures along with 320 from scientists and 50 countries.
List of signatories also includes- Billie Eilish, Malala Yousafzai, Leonardo DiCaprio, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Shawn Mendes, Coldplay, Greenpeace, Emma Thompson, Margaret Atwood, PETA, Paul Rudd, Ellie Goulding, Joaquin Pheonix, Stella McCartney, among thousands of others.
You can cast your sign here.
Demands include making ‘ecocide’ or the deliberate act of destroying nature a crime, forfeiting investments and subsidies to fossil fuels, divesting from fossil fuels, enacting laws to protect the vulnerable, and producing annual carbon budgets based on the best science available.
“We understand the world is complicated and that what we are asking for may not be easy or may seem unrealistic. But it is much more unrealistic to believe that our societies would be able to survive the global heating we’re heading for […].”
“This mix of ignorance, denial, and unawareness is at the very heart of the problem,” Thunberg, Neubauer, Charlier, and de Wever writes.
Meeting and conferences will not bear the results that will ultimately bring the change that is needed, they say, adding that the willingness to act and awareness is still missing.
“We still have the future in our own hands. But time is rapidly slipping through our fingers,” the youth activists warned before signing off.