“Many are starting to ask themselves, what will it take for the people in power to wake up? But let’s be clear: they are already wake. They know exactly what they are doing.” These are the inspiring words of 18-year-old, Swedish environmental activist, Greta Thunberg, from the 2021 United Nations Climate Summit in Glasgow, United Kingdom on November 5.
It is no surprise that this conference was led not only by world leaders but by the youth, much like Thunberg, who will inhabit earth long after these representatives are gone and are adamant in having a healthy planet to occupy for generations to come.
Rallying for change is nothing new for this young teenager, who was responsible for founding “Fridays for Future” in 2018, a rigorous climate change campaign orchestrated on her own initiative by skipping school every Friday to hold a weekly vigil outside of the Swedish Parliament.
In addition to her carbon footprint conscious lifestyle, Greta has also been recognized for her efforts in combating the dangers of climate change. Thunberg was named Time Magazine’s 2019 Person of the Year and was nominated for the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize based on her commendable eco-friendly accomplishments.
More recently, in September, the environmental activist was in attendance at the Youth 4 Climate summit in Milan, Italy, to boldly voice her opinions about those in power with abusive political agendas at the expense of the environment.
“Net zero by 2050. Blah, blah, blah. Net zero. Blah, blah, blah. Climate neutral. Blah, blah, blah. This is all we hear from our so-called leaders. Words that sound great but so far have led to no action,” Greta said.
Once given the microphone in the Scottish city at the Kelvingrove Part City Center just two months later, Thunberg continued decimating the Glasgow Climate Pact on the fifth day of the summit called “Youth and Public Empowerment” in front of 25,000 fellow protestors.
“History will judge them poorly. The leaders are doing nothing. Change is not going to come from inside there, that is not leadership. This is what leadership looks like,” Thunberg said.
Amongst the youth in the crowd included 15-year-old, Safiya, from Chad.
“I’ve been screaming and shouting for the past two weeks. No one is listening. How many more of these should they hold until they realize that their inactions are destroying the planet?” Safiya said.
That said, the 2015 Paris Agreement will be taken into consideration when examining the temperature objective of limiting global heating by 1.5 degrees Celsius at the end of the 2022 calendar year. This dates back to the COP21 pact where 196 parties in attendance on November 4, 2016, implemented the plan.
Consequently, this legally binding international treaty was not adhered to by all nations in the past five years as nothing has changed.
“Rapid, deep and sustained reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions, including reducing global carbon dioxide emissions by 45 per cent by 2030 relative to the 2010 level and to net zero around mid-century is what was promised and must be fulfilled,” Thunberg demanded.
However, the clock is rapidly ticking as the mere prospect of achieving a desired climate neutral world by 2050 is evolving into a daunting task as nations like Australia continue to decline their prerogatives when combating climate change.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison came to Glasgow with the same, recycled reducing emissions goal of 28%, the same aim that was presented on behalf of Australia back in 2015 at the Paris conference.
On the other hand, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, seeks to unite the United Nations.
“This is bigger than any one country and it is time for nations to put aside differences and come together for our planet and our people. We need to pull out all the stops if we’re going to keep 1.5 Celsius within our grasp,” Johnson said.
Closer to home, American actor and UN Ambassador for International Fund for Agricultural Development, Idris Elba, discussed food shortages during the pandemic due to supply chain issues.
“Focusing on small scale farmers [who] deliver 80 percent of the food that we eat. Every year when they put their crops in, the crops are lower, because the rain is different, the soil is different. And one day we’re gonna go to [grocers] and the food’s not going to be there,” Elba said.
Another key speaker representing the red, white and blue was President Joe Biden who addressed the U.S. $1.2 trillion dollar infrastructure bill allocated for improvements regarding zero and low-emission modes of transportation, rebuilding the electric grid for nationwide clean drinking water and replenishing toxic waste management sites.
Although commitments towards deforestation and halting investments in fossil fuel projects seem promising in the hands of government officials, Greta Thunberg has started a tidal wave whose ripples will be felt by the billions of kids around the world who want a better tomorrow.
This includes chants from that November day in Glasgow.
“We Are Unstoppable Another World is Possible.”
While one protestor held a sign that spoke louder than any noise in the crowd.
“Our parents will die from old age. Our children will die from climate change.”