Underclassmen respond to young activist’s climate plea

Greta Thunberg in Stockholm, August 2018. Her sign reads “school strike” – photo by Anders Hellberg via Wikimedia

Greta Thunberg, a sixteen-year-old Swedish climate activist, recently spoke at a climate conference in New York City about what is happening to the planet.  Her grim message was that the Earth is past the point of return. Despite her age, Thunberg is inspiring people around the globe to stand up for climate change. 

     Thunberg rebuked world leaders, saying to the U.N. Climate Summit on September 23, 2019, “For more than 30 years, the science has been crystal clear. How dare you continue to look away and come here saying that you’re doing enough?”

     Her message has reached in many different countries, but it is not reaching everyone. One Third Former had difficulty remembering who Thunberg was until he was reminded of the middle school diversity conference, during which Greta Thunberg was a major topic of conversation. Since then, however, he has not heard of any of Thunberg’s movements. 

“I don’t think that age determines someone’s role. I think that if she wants to work hard and cares about what she is doing, it doesn’t matter what age she is.”

Love McCune ’23

     Other students are familiar with Thunberg.

      “She has really been working hard considering she is a youth,” Third Former Love McCune said. “I don’t think that age determines someone’s role. I think that if she wants to work hard and cares about what she is doing, it doesn’t matter what age she is.” 

     Third Form physics teacher Ms. Carol O’Brien is aware of Thunberg’s work — the climate meetings and her voyage to New York City by sailboat. Ms. O’Brien is happy with what Thunberg is doing but does not think that she will be able to alert everyone on her own. 

     “I don’t think that it will be immediately effective. I think that what she does will alert more people to work with her so they can be effective,” Ms. O’Brien said.

     Third Former Joey Kaufman is also aware of Ms. Thunberg and what she has been doing as a young activist. 

     “From what I have seen, her speeches are really moving people, and she is adding the perspective of the younger generation and I think she is making people wake up to the climate crisis,” Kaufman said. “I think that her being young is part of who she is — if she was older it would have a different impact.”

Author: Connor Pinsk '23

Connor Pinsk joined The Index in the fall of 2019.