Greta Thunberg is just 16 years old, and she’s already a bona fide climate action rockstar. Today she was the inspiration for youth climate protests that took place in more than 100 cities worldwide.
Last August, Thunberg began staging weekly sit-ins outside the Swedish Parliament every Friday. Her actions have spurred students around the world to skip school on Fridays to hold their own climate strikes.
This morning, Thunberg was among the protestors in Stockholm, Sweden. She told CNN’s Atika Shubert that despite a spate of global student protests, we have yet to see meaningful action on tackling climate change.
“The most important thing to look at is if emissions are increasing or reducing – and they’re increasing,” she said.
Thunberg has won fans of all ages for her single-minded determination and her straight-talking when speaking to the powerful.
At last year’s UN climate talks she told international climate change negotiators, “You are not mature enough to tell it like is. Even that burden you leave to us children. ”
At this year’s meeting of the World Economic Forum, in Davos, Switzerland, Thunberg gave a memorable speech at a lunch with guests that included music stars Bono and Will.i.am, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, former Goldman Sachs President Gary Cohn, and an array of bankers and investors.
She accused some of them of putting profits before the planet, so they could continue to make “unimaginable amounts of money.”
She is now something of a celebrity and a favorite subject for media interviews. It’s something Thunberg has had to get used to. “I did this because I was shy,” she said. “I’m very bad at socializing.” But she wanted to make a point: “No one is too small to make a difference.”
Thunberg lives by her ideals. She no longer travels by plane and she eats a vegan diet. She’s made her parents do the same. And she has this advice for other young protestors, who today gathered in countries from Italy to Israel, and Nigeria to Japan.
“I think we should continue until they do something,” she said.
“This is not a one-time thing. We are not just protesting to let them see that we care, we are protesting until they do something. We are going to put pressure on them and just keep on going.”