15-year-old activist inspiring crowds of thousands to fight for the planet.

At just 15 years old, Greta Thurnberg is leading a revolution that's growing beyond her home country of Sweden.

For a month and a half, instead of sitting in a classroom, Greta Thurnberg has been sitting on the steps of Sweden's parliament building. Her full-time sit-in, which drew other students, lasted three weeks. Now it takes place just on Fridays during school hours.  

Her laser-focused goal: To get lawmakers and society to act immediately on climate change.


According to a profile in the New Yorker, Thurnberg began her deep dive into climate change research at the age of nine. As a person on the autism spectrum, she has an uncanny ability to focus on one subject, and she's spent the past six years learning about the science and politics of climate change.

Now, inspired by the activism of the Parkland, Florida students in the U.S., she's taking her region's leaders and fellow citizens to task.

She spoke to a crowd of 10,000 in Helsinki, telling them it's time to change the rules.

Thurnberg has become the young face of the climate change activism movement in Scandinavia, and has clearly achieved her goal of getting people talking more about the issue.

On Saturday, October 20, she spoke to a crowd of 10,000 people at a climate march in Helsinki, Finland:

"Today we use 100 million barrels of oil every day," she said. "There are no politics to change that. There are no rules to keep that oil in the ground, so we can't save the world by playing by the rules because the rules have to change. Everything needs to change and it has to start today."

"A lot of people say that Sweden or Finland are just small countries and that it doesn't matter what we do," Thunberg added. "But I think that if a few children can get headlines all over the world just by not going to school for a few weeks, imagine what we could do together if we wanted to."

Despite her calm and sweet delivery, Thurnberg pulls no punches with her blunt admonitions.

When you listen to her speak, Thurnberg's tone might almost make you forget that she is essentially ripping the world a new one. She doesn't pussyfoot around the fact that we are facing a climate catastrophe that we'd prefer to pretend doesn't exist.

"This is a cry for help. To all the newspapers who have never treated the crisis as a crisis. To all the politicians that pretend to take the climate question seriously. To all of you who know but who choose to look the other way every day because you seem more frightened of the changes that can prevent catastrophic climate change than the catastrophic climate change itself. Your silence is almost the worst of all. The future of all the coming generations rests on your shoulders. What you do now we children can't undo in the future."

Alluding to criticism that she should be in school instead of protesting at parliament, Thurnberg laid out a pretty solid defense:

"Some people say that we should study to become climate scientists so that we can solve the climate crisis," she said. "But the climate crisis has already been solved. We already have the facts and solutions. All we need to do is wake up and change."

"What is the point of learning facts within the school system," she continued, "when the most important facts given by the science of that same school system clearly means nothing to our politicians and our society?"

Good question, Greta. Around the world, the kids seem to be leading the way in practically every way. Let's just hope the adults are listening.  

Heroes

As a child, Dr. Sangeeta Bhatia's parents didn't ask her what she wanted to be when she grew up. Instead, her father would ask, "Are you going to be a doctor? Are you going to be an engineer? Or are you going to be an entrepreneur?"

Little did he know that she would successfully become all three: an award-winning biomedical and mechanical engineer who performs cutting-edge medical research and has started multiple companies.

Bhatia holds an M.D. from Harvard University, an M.S. in mechanical engineering from MIT, and a PhD in biomedical engineering from MIT. Bhatia, a Wilson professor of engineering at MIT, is currently serving as director of the Marble Center for Cancer Nanomedicine, where she's working on nanotechnology targeting enzymes in cancer cells. This would allow cancer screenings to be done with a simple urine test.

Bhatia owes much of her impressive career to her family. Her parents were refugees who met in graduate school in India; in fact, she says her mom was the first woman to earn an MBA in the country. The couple immigrated to the U.S. in the 1960s, started a family, and worked hard to give their two daughters the best opportunities.

"They made enormous sacrifices to pick a town with great public schools and really push us to excel the whole way," Bhatia says. "They really believed in us, but they expected excellence. The story I like to tell about my dad is like, if you brought home a 96 on a math test, the response would be, 'What'd you get wrong?'"

Keep Reading Show less
Packard Foundation
True

Someday, future Americans will look back on this era of school shootings in bafflement and disbelief—not only over the fact that it happened, but over how long it took us to enact significant legislation to try to stop it.

Five people die from vaping, and the government talks about banning vaping devices. Hundreds of American children have been shot to death in their classrooms, sometimes a dozen or so at a time, and the government has done practically nothing. It's unconscionable.

Keep Reading Show less
Education & Information
Amy Johnson

The first day of school can be both exciting and scary at the same time — especially if it's your first day ever, as was the case for a nervous four-year-old in Wisconsin. But with a little help from a kind bus driver, he was able to get over his fear.

Axel was "super excited" waiting for the bus in Augusta with his mom, Amy Johnson, until it came time to actually get on.

"He was all smiles when he saw me around the corner and I started to slow down and that's when you could see his face start to change," his bus driver, Isabel "Izzy" Lane, told WEAU.

The scared boy wouldn't get on the bus without help from his mom, so she picked him up and carried him aboard, trying to give him a pep talk.

"He started to cling to me and I told him, 'Buddy, you got this and will have so much fun!'" Johnson told Fox 7.

Keep Reading Show less
Most Shared
via Hollie Bellew-Shaw / Facebook

For those of us who are not on the spectrum, it can be hard to perceive the world through the senses of someone with autism.

"You could think of a person with autism as having an imbalanced set of senses," Stephen Shore, assistant professor in the School of Education at Adelphi University, told Web MD.

"Some senses may be turned up too high and some turned down too low. As a result, the data that comes in tends to be distorted, and it's very hard to perceive a person's environment accurately," Shore continued.

Keep Reading Show less
Education & Information