Greta Thunberg, called "the voice of the planet," spoke at the United Nations Climate Action Summit last Monday. “We will not let you get away with this," Thunberg said. "Right now, is where we draw the line." This 16-year-old girl, one of the leading voices of a generation confronting the consequences of a warmer planet, is demanding action from governments around the world. Last August, she began striking by herself outside the Swedish parliament, and soon, students around the world began walking out of school in support. She has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for taking world leaders to task for failing to address climate change.
Thunberg's message to the U.N: even the strictest emission cuts being talked about only give the world a 50% chance of limiting future warming to another 0.4 degrees Celsius (0.72 degrees Fahrenheit) from now, which is a global goal. Those odds are not good enough, she said. Climate change trends are increasingly alarming. For instance, a climate study in January showed the world's oceans are warming significantly faster than previously thought. Since 1970, the ocean has warmed 40% more than previous estimates.
The U.N. noted on its website that global emissions "are reaching record levels and show no sign of peaking," and that the last four years were the “hottest recorded." And that change, the U.N. said, is beginning to have a "life-threatening impact," as it brings more air pollution, heatwaves and greater risk to food supplies.
The Future Generation of Women is Raising Its Voice
Like Malala Yousafzai, the girl activist who raised her voice on behalf of education for girls, Thunberg is demanding attention to a situation that will have devastating proportions for everyone: as one leader put it, “if we don’t take action soon, we’ll all be swimming to work in the not too distant future!” A hot planet is not good for the world's great glaciers, such as the ones that cover Antarctica and Greenland. More water flows into the ocean as those glaciers melt. Sea levels are already unusually high and continue to creep up.Then you get trouble. Flooding, for instance. You can see how this could just get worse and worse.
Fierce young women like Thunberg and Yousafzai and others like them are beacons of light, reminding us to stand up, to speak out, and to not be afraid to call for changes in a world that has to do better.
The most powerful message a girl can receive is there are no limits to what she can be or do or create. Starting with seismic problems she wants to solve when she grows up, she needs to know nothing stands in her way. Girls Inc. of New York City delivers that message to girls every day, embracing and supporting girls their unique capabilities, their aspirations and dreams, often in spite of the message’s society gives them.
Almost like hearing voices like Thunberg's every day, Girls Inc. of New York City plays a critical role in empowering girls with inspiration, the skills and knowledge to reach their full potential and become leaders in a challenging, changing world. As a community of supporters, students, alumnae, and advocates committed to the education and leadership of girls and young women, together we can make a difference.
Join us as we pursue our advocacy agenda, speak up for girls’ education and developing female voices and leaders by lending your support in whatever way you can.