Little Choices, Big (Climate) Change
In today’s day and age, most of us are aware of the damage we are causing to our Earth. However, many of us still refuse to take action and fight for the future we want: clean water, blue skies, and less pollution. Sixteen-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg has had enough of her parliament’s constant ignorance of climate change, so she decided to take a stand.
In August of 2018, the BBC reported Thunberg protested by sitting on the cobblestone steps of the Swedish Parliament and refusing to go to school until something changed and more attention was directed to climate change. TIME Magazine reports she inspired 1.6 million people in 133 other countries to join her in the school strike for climate change in March 2019, and Thunberg continues to lead the cause.
Since then, Thunberg has been in the world spotlight, speaking at TEDxStockholm in January 2019, explaining how her form of autism, Asperger Syndrome, allows her to see the world in black and white. She was first introduced to the topic of climate change at just eight years old, and became curious as to why so little was being done, and why people failed to understand the gravity of our situation.
“I only speak when I think it’s necessary – now is one of those moments. We can’t save the world by playing by the rules, because the rules have to be changed.” Thunberg goes onto to explain the statistics and alarming facts of Earth’s rising temperature and the effects this has on not only animals in the wild, but on humans. “We are in the midst of the sixth mass extinction: up to 200 species go extinct every single day. That the extinction rate is today between 1000 and 10,000 times higher than what is seen as normal.” She provides a reality check: “The year 2078, I will celebrate my 75th birthday. If I have children or grandchildren, maybe they will spend that day with me. Maybe they will ask me about you, the people who were around, back in 2018. Maybe they will ask why you didn’t do anything while there still was time to act. What we do or don’t do right now will affect my entire life and the lives of my children and grandchildren. What we do or don’t do right now, me and my generation can’t undo in the future.”
Thunberg has since been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for her persistent actions in changing the world, and has the opportunity to join Malala Yousafzai in being the youngest people to win. Her inspiration has reached people all over the world, including students here at Terra Linda. Frances Davison, a freshman here at TL, explains how Thunberg inspires her by “taking a lead at a young age which most of our generation isn’t doing. She inspires me to make change and do what I can.” Frances points out that even doing small things like using reusable tupperware and utensils along with bringing your own water bottle can actually make a big impact on our Earth.
Molly Madden, a junior, describes one of TL’s upcoming plans to help the climate crisis, which includes possible parking spots reserved specifically for those who carpool. She also leaves us with a good piece of advice by explaining, “What we have here is beautiful. Spend time outside and appreciate what we live in. If we spend so much time in this space, we might as well do the bare minimum to keep it clean.”
Sometimes it may seem like the little things we do to help Mother Earth aren’t doing much, but in reality it’s the small choices that make a big difference. Click here to watch Jane Goodall explain exactly that.