I’m starting a series of posts centred around inspiring people to motivate myself and others to stimulate change in our lives. I thought the best start to this series would be through focusing on the person named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year – Greta Thunberg. Another reason I have chosen to write about this topic is because of where I am from, which is Australia. Currently, Australia is facing record temperatures of 40 degrees in most parts of the country. In fact, the countries record for the hottest temperature was broken twice in December, a record previously set in January. High temperatures are becoming more frequent and are happening earlier on in the summer months than ever before. These high temperatures are leading to bush fires all over the country. Sydney has been burning for two months now.
Change needs to happen in order to ensure our futures and the future of our planet. As the climate changes, conditions will become harsher, affecting millions of people. Finally, we are seeing an acceleration of that change, thanks to Greta Thunberg.
Why Greta Thunberg?
Unless you live under a rock, you would’ve seen the inspiring speech given by Greta Thunberg on December 12th, 2018. Going from protests outside her country’s parliament to delivering a speech to the world leaders at the United Nations is an amazing feat.
In her notorious speech she showed her disapproval of the worlds leaders inability to address climate change and emphasised just how urgent it’s becoming. This speech inspired change and just three months later on March 15th 2019, over one million students skipped their Friday classes in order to protest against climate change.
Greta Thunberg was born on the 3rd of January 2003 in Stockholm, Sweden. The first time she heard about climate change was at the age of 8. Three years later she developed depression and stopped talking. Greta was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, obsessive compulsive disorder and selective mutism. In her TED talk, she describes how she sees things in ‘black and white’, which is attributed to her Aspergers. She explains how if the carbon emissions have to stop, then they have to stop – to her it’s black or white and there are no grey areas. Despite the mental health issues previously faced, Greta acknowledges her illness as a ‘superpower’ and it influences her activism immensely today.
Why are her Actions so Important?
The simple answer is; it’s making people care. Since the 19th century, the planet has warmed by 1 degree. A 1.5 degree increase in global temperatures is the threshold before the effects of climate change have an affect in tens of millions of people. As she has stated, there’s only a 50% chance that cutting our carbon emissions in half during the next 10 years with allow us to stay below that 1.5 degree threshold. Our chances of reducing carbon emissions by 2030 is fast becoming impractical. It’s 2020 soon, we have 10 years left.
Because of Greta we are seeing a shift in the younger generation. The more we fight, the more we can get through to world leaders and big corporations. We can reduce our own individual carbon emissions, however; we need the help of higher organisations. 28% of carbon emissions in the US is created by electricity production alone. We all have to work together to reduce our carbon emissions.
Last year, Australian supermarkets banned single use plastic bags. This was definitely a step in reducing waste, yet, it confused people because they released sturdier re-useable plastic bags made out of recycled plastic. It’s still going to end up in the same place because very little plastic is actually recycled. Soon after, Coles (a supermarket giant) released collectable miniature supermarket products made of plastic and confused people even more. They want us to reduce plastic while simultaneously releasing more sturdy plastic products. Cooperations need to communicate and work with the consumer. Are they confusing people? Yes. They shouldn’t have continued to release a second line of miniature collectables or they should phase out the bags all together. Big organisations need to listen to the consumers instead of focusing on money. If we keep going the way we are, there will be less consumers to give cooperations money anyway.
Greta inspired a generation to skip school and fight for something they believe in. Hopefully it will be enough to elicit a change.
Thanks everyone for reading! I hope to make this into a series that will inspire and motivate people. Also for those of you who were wondering why I brought waste up; waste can also produce greenhouse gases. Plastic is derived from materials made from fossil fuels. Degradation of the plastic can then release greenhouse gases.