1. “I don’t care about being popular. I care about climate justice.” Please comment on this quote by Greta. How does it differ from the priorities of many teens? Do you see any irony in how popular Greta has become worldwide?
While I applaud Greta’s maturity and focus on climate justice, it saddens me that she has had to sacrifice her adolescence and teen years to fight this issue. No teen should have to face this challenge as well as a symphony of adverse opinions alone. While I applaud her and her courageousness, I don’t want to criticize the actions of other teens that do care about “popularity”. I don’t think its black and white, many teens now have been very vocal about social justice issues while still maintaining a “normal” social life. The girls we read about in week 2 were able to leverage their online popularity for good and organize protests and events.
It is ironic how even though she might not care about her personal popularity, she has been able to leverage her fame and relevance in order to shed light on the climate crisis in many different ways.
2. Did you attend the #ClimateStrike just one year ago in Foley Square in NYC ? If yes, what was your experience first hand? If you tuned in virtually were you surprised how many people across the world were galvanized by her message?
While I was not able to actually attend the protest itself (I believe I was at work), it did spark a myriad of conversations at home and in class. The climate strike was great because it showed a sense of unity and collective change.
3. Why do you think a girl with asperger’s syndrome has inspired a generation of young people to rise up for climate?
I think Greta’s diagnosis with Asperger’s has been one of her greatest strengths. While she hasn’t been public about how it affects her day-to-day life, she has called it her “superpower” which I think is fitting. She celebrates her differences and does not let them stop her which has inspired so many young people to do the same. I would guess it is also inspiring to other neurodiverse teens to see a girl with Aspergers thrive and be so outspoken.
4. Do you think the pandemic has dampened or amplified the climate situation? How can we innovate beyond the limitations imposed by the pandemic to create new strategies for activism? Please provide specific examples.
While people might have been preoccupied with coping with the harsh realities of the pandemic; I think this time off has allowed us to reflect on the state of the world and the climate crisis. Living in the Bay Area, I have witnessed the effects of the fires that have engulfed much of the west coast. Other parts of the country have seen bizarre weather and harsh storms that are obviously an effect of climate change as well. While I am not certain, I have seen the idea that pandemic is an indirect result of the climate crisis floating around online as well.
It is difficult to truly unpack the severity of the situation when many Americans are dealing with so many other pressing issues on a daily basis. People across the country are dealing with so much including; the pandemic, unemployment, civil unrest, police brutality, a corrupt president, and the political strain of an upcoming election.
The sad truth is that climate change is not a top priority. What is troubling though is that the blame should not be shifted onto the average citizen/consumer. Big corporations and businesses need to be held accountable for their carbon footprint and effects on the environment.
5. “…if a few girls can get headlines all over the world just by not going to school for a few weeks, imagine what we could do together if we wanted to.” –Greta Thunberg, 2018 What are your thoughts on this quote?
This is inspiring to hear and has so much weight to it but I just don’t know how feasible it truly is. While we have had moments of unity, like the climate strike in 2019, the nation is so divided that true unity is hard to achieve. Everything in the media has become so polarizing that people can no longer agree on a common goal or common enemy.
6. Choose one favorite quote from the “Our House is on Fire” speech included in No One is Too Small to Make a Difference and comment. Why do you think this speech inspired so many memes? Find a meme to include on your blog.
While the speech is filled with quotable lines and attention-grabbing sound bites, I think the one that had the most impact is when she said “I don’t want your hope. I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day.” I think this call to action woke people up and made them confront their actions or lack thereof. Thunberg’s cutting words pierce the soul. There is no longer time to sugarcoat the issue or make it “marketable”. These are real issues that we are facing now and they need to be addressed head-on.
7. “Greta Thunberg is the spark but we are the wildfire.”–Naomi Klein . Please comment. Has Greta’s activism lit a fire inside you? What actions have you been inspired to take? How have your habits changed?
It is amazing to see how great her impact is and how she is able to start conversations and ignite change. Personally, as a fashion design student, I have become very aware of how exploitative and toxic the industry is and what needs to be done to stop it. I have explored sustainable design methods and practices in my own work and tried to think of new systems (small and large) that can be put into place to create a better future. This could include everything from reusing fabric, to natural dyes and reducing water treatments to sourcing and producing everything locally to cut down on transportation emissions.
On a day-to-day basis, I have tried to change small habits like no longer using plastic straws, composting and recycling everything, no longer using products that contain palm oil, and trying to eat more of a plant-based diet.
““We have a new wave of contention in society that’s being led by women. … And the youth climate movement is leading this generational shift.” 46% of girls consider climate issues extremely important compared to 23% of boys. Why do you think this gender disparity exists? Why are girls stepping up to helm the movement?
Honestly, girls are simply smarter and more mature. Like as biased and wild as this may seem I truly think that women are capable of so much more at a younger age. I don’t know if it is because they are forced to mature faster and more is expected of them, or if it simply boils down to evolution or genetics but girls are forces to be reckoned with.
Choose one of these young women’s names and provide one sentence about their role in the environmental movement:
Xiye Bastida is a Mexican-Chilean activist that has been very active on twitter and has been able to reach a wide audience through the platform. She speaks on the intersectionality of climate change and the effects on marginalized groups which I think is a very important topic to be discussed. Based in NYC, Xiye has been able to help organize Fridays for Future walks.