How can we inspire our students to become engaged and active global citizens? Show them what other people their own age are doing to create social change.
Greta Thunberg, a sixteen year old Swedish climate activist, is someone who can inspire all of us to action, regardless of our age. Last year I wrote a post about her leading the #Fridays4Future movement a student strike from school each Friday to bring awareness to climate change. At that time, inspired by the high-school students from Parkland, Florida, Thunberg decided to protest her government’s slow response to climate change by sitting outside Parliament with a handmade sign that said: “School Strike For Climate”. She handed out leaflets about climate change and used social media to spread her message. Students worldwide were inspired, and the movement spread.
Now, over a year later, Thunberg’s is a face known around the world and students around the globe hold school strikes each week. Thunberg was even nominated for the Nobel Peace prize for climate activism. Her Ted Talk, The Disarming Case to Act Right Now on Climate Change, has been viewed by over three million people, and she has addressed a UN Climate Change conference in Poland.
Most recently, Thunberg spent two weeks sailing across the Atlantic in a solar powered boat (she does not fly due to the carbon emission that air travel leaves), to raise awareness to Americans about climate change and to participate at the UN Climate Action Summit. During her journey, Thunberg posted often on her social media page.
On Friday, Thunberg protested outside the White House.
On Wednesday, Thunberg will testify before the US Congress and join young Americans who are suing the government over the crisis.
On September 20, three days before the UN Climate Summit in NYC, young people and adults will strike all across the US and the world to demand that change be taken to address the climate crisis. To find a climate strike near you on September 20, go to strikewithUs.org or #strikewithus. There are over 750 strikes across the nation planned for that day as well as other events.
Two videos that might inspire students, are a nine minute interview with Trevor Noah, and a nine minute video from PBS World News. The PBS video includes a written transcript as well as highlights of quotes that could be discussed with students.
For more information on the climate strike movement using Twitter, try the hashtags #strike4climate or #Friday4Future or #YouthStrike4Climate or follow some of the youth leaders such as: @sunrisemvmt @climatestrikeUS