For Greta Thunberg, 16, it has taken just one year to traverse the distance from being a regular ninth-standard student in Stockholm to becoming the most recognised face of climate change activism who can give world leaders a dressing-down at a United Nations summit.

Along the way to her widely publicised speech at the UN climate conference, she has found a cult following, mingled with heads of states, given a TED talk, sailed across the Atlantic to spread climate awareness, been interviewed by countless media organisations, and has a detailed Wikipedia page. Earlier this year, she has also been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

The background
Born to an actor father and a singer mother, Thunberg, then 15, shot to fame in August last year, when she sat against the outer wall of the main building of Swedish Parliament. She carried a sign that read “School strike for the climate” in Swedish. She herself had decided to skip school to demand from her country’s lawmakers more concrete and urgent action on climate change. For a child her age in Sweden, attending school is compulsory. She was, in effect, breaking the law by not attending.

Her strike and protest outside Swedish Parliament brought her instant fame, and a following on the Internet.

The impact
With her massive following, and support from NGOs and the scientific community, Thunberg has managed to create awareness about the issue, especially among the young. Her school strike campaign is now held across the world, with students skipping schools for a few days in protest against inaction on climate.

Rationale given by her for protest
Why should I be studying for a future that soon would be no more, when no one is doing anything whatsoever to save that future. And what is the point of learning facts in the school system when the most important facts given by the finest science of the same school system clearly means nothing for our politicians and society.

Source: The Indian Express