There are a lot of terrible things going on in 2019, but amidst all the chaos, Greta Thunberg is a true beacon of hope.
Just 16 years old, the Swedish student has been making headlines all over the world for her impassioned stance against climate change. Her peaceful protests, where she regularly skipped school to hold signs outside Swedish parliament, went viral on social media last year, inspiring hundreds of thousands of students around the world to follow in her footsteps and hold their own protests in what has been dubbed the Fridays for the Future campaign.
Her tireless efforts and rousing influence on her peers and lawmakers has led her to be nominated for the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize. She will be the youngest recipient ever if she wins.
Yesterday, the Global Climate Strike kicked off in the southern hemisphere where Australian crowds attended in record numbers, with some 400,000 people marching in Melbourne and Sydney.
The strike continues today in New York where Thunberg will march with the city’s youth, culminating in a speech delivered at 5pm local time. Thunberg will stay in New York tomorrow for the UN’s Youth Climate Summit on September 21 which kicks off the three day Climate Action Summit to be attended by world leaders including French president Emmanuel Macron, British prime minister Boris Johnson and German chancellor Angela Merkel.
Thunberg was received warmly by hundreds of young supporters when she arrived at New York Harbour last month, having travelled in an emissions-free yacht. Today, she can expect supporters in the hundreds of thousands, with the city granting students the day off school (with their parents’ permission) to participate in the strike.
Thunberg has Asperger’s and has been mocked for this, and for her appearance (which is, by the way, angelic). In an Instagram post she hit back, saying “When haters go after your looks and differences, it means they have nowhere left to go. And then you know you’re winning!”
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When haters go after your looks and differences, it means they have nowhere left to go. And then you know you’re winning! I have Asperger’s syndrome and that means I’m sometimes a bit different from the norm. And – given the right circumstances – being different is a superpower. I'm not public about my diagnosis to "hide" behind it, but because I know many ignorant people still see it as an "illness", or something negative. And believe me, my diagnosis has limited me before. Before I started school striking I had no energy, no friends and I didn’t speak to anyone. I just sat alone at home, with an eating disorder. All of that is gone now, since I have found a meaning, in a world that sometimes seems meaningless to so many people. #aspiepower #neurodiverse #npf
You ARE winning, Greta Thunberg, and you have our unequivocal support.