Greta Thunberg’s impact on the climate movement is irrefutable. Thunberg, through her actions, has garnered international attention for the severity of the climate crisis.
The summer of 2018 proved to be the hottest summer on record in Sweden, sparking intense and unprecedented wildfires and heat waves. Inspired by students refusing to return to school after the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, Thunberg launched her own personal climate strike, refusing to attend school to help draw attention to the issue.
For three weeks, she protested in front of the Swedish parliament demanding the government get into closer alignment with the Paris Agreement by reducing its carbon emissions. Using social media to help publicize the action, Thunberg quickly gained the attention of youth activists worldwide and became a central figure in the modern-day climate change movement, inspiring more than 20,000 students to hold strikes in 270 cities by December 2018.
Thunberg’s activism included speeches at the European, French, and British parliaments and the World Economic Forum and others. In 2019, she and more than a dozen other youth activists spoke at a press conference hosted by the United Nations Children’s Fund where they called for accountability for five nations to ensure they met emissions targets in accordance with the Paris Agreement.
To further advance the conversation on climate activism, Thunberg authored The Climate Book, which features the perspectives of more than one hundred experts, including indigenous leaders, geophysicists, oceanographers, meteorologists, historians, mathematicians, engineers, economists, and philosophers.
Her unrelenting persistence to keep pressure on global leaders to address the growing climate crisis has inspired activists and movements worldwide. Support for her approach and perspectives across the political spectrum has resulted in an increased focus and commitment to climate mitigation action.