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WGL05.19-Greta ThurnbergWGL05.19-Greta Thurnberg
Greta Thunberg leads a school strike outside of Riksdagen, the Swedish parliament building, in order to raise awareness for climate change on August 28, 2018.Michael Campanella—Getty Images
Greta Thunberg leads a school strike outside of Riksdagen, the Swedish parliament building, in order to raise awareness for climate change on August 28, 2018., Michael Campanella—Getty Images
  • Title
    Student and climate activist
  • Affiliation
    Sweden

Greta Thunberg isn’t here to inspire you; she’s here to give you anxiety. “I don’t want your hope,” the 16-year-old climate activist said in a speech at the World Economic Forum this year. “I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. And then I want you to act.”

 

In September, she started skipping school on Fridays so she could protest government inaction on climate change at Sweden’s Parliament in Stockholm. Her one-woman sit-in ballooned into some 1,700 “climate strikes,” largely by youth, on March 15, under her “Fridays for Future” banner. The mass protest garnered the support of leaders from New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern to Paris Mayor Anne Hildalgo—and earned her a Nobel Peace Prize nod. Climate change, left unchecked, will cause wars, conflict, and refugee crises, said Freddy André Ovstegard, a Norwegian lawmaker who nominated her, so Thunberg’s movement is “a major contribution to peace.”

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