Sixteen-year-old climate activist and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Greta Thunberg is bringing much-needed attention to the threat of global climate change. And not a second too soon. There are real and imminent dangers to our planet that we must address now, and Greta’s commitment to confronting world leaders and asking us all to educate ourselves is a huge wake-up call.
Since she burst onto the scene outside the Swedish parliament over a year ago, Greta has delivered over a dozen speeches, one of the most noteworthy being her fiery address to world leaders at the 2019 UN Climate Action Summit in New York City on September 23, 2019. “How dare you?” she asked, her echoing reproach ringing straight through the halls of that hallowed building to touch every end of this planet.
"This is all wrong. I shouldn’t be standing here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to me for hope? How dare you! You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. And yet I’m one of the lucky ones. People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction. And all you can talk about is money and fairytales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!... You are failing us…. But the young people are starting to understand your betrayal. The eyes of all future generations are upon you. And if you choose to fail us, I say: We will never forgive you.”
From her first important speech in October 2018 outside the Houses of Parliament, to a TEDxStockholm talk where she urged listeners to wake up to the global climate change crisis, her words have gotten through, and her actions have backed them up. "We're facing an immediate, unprecedented crisis that has never been treated as a crisis and our leaders are all acting like children. We need to wake up and change everything.” In September 2019, she addressed world leaders in Montreal: "My message to all the politicians is the same – to listen to the science and act on the science.”
Greta’s speeches have ignited the world, reaching Davos, Switzerland in January 2019, Berlin in March, the EU leaders in April, and the Austrian World Summit B20 in May. For her work, she was awarded the Prix Liberté Normandy 2019 Freedom Prize on July 21.
Key Sustainability Events
So what are we doing about her message? There are a number of important annual sustainability events fighting climate change through sustainability. Follow these events and others.
The Sustainability Summit
Run by The Conference Board in New York City, this year’s summit was on July 16-17. It was called “How Corporate Superstars Generate Impact.” The event welcomed decision-makers in the fields of sustainability, corporate responsibility, corporate social responsibility, corporate giving, and more, to share the best ways to have a lasting environmental, social, and governance (ESG) impact.
The summit strives to reduce carbon emissions through bold carbon reduction strategies, harness the latest research on generating social impact, reduce plastic ocean waste, transform the supply chain, and pursue other eco-friendly initiatives. Learn more about the 2020 summit as it’s updated here.
We celebrate Earth Day every year on April 22. This April marks the 50th anniversary of the hugely successful endeavor, which has become far more than just a day on the calendar. It’s become the biggest global movement for change on the planet. Earth Day has produced enormous benefits for the Earth, ranging from significant planet-protecting legislation like the Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts - to productive tree-planting ceremonies in schools across the nation. This year, the theme is “Climate Action,” and all supporters are striving to pursue climate crisis solutions and work towards a zero-carbon world.
We applaud Greta’s efforts and the efforts of those fighting so hard for the future of our planet. We are thrilled by the passion for sustainable change and perseverance of this new generation, and join them as we innovate to find new and better ways to respect and renew our beautiful planet. Join us!