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Speaking Up for Earth

Greta Thunberg, 17, is from Sweden. She’s an environmental activist EVGENIA ARBUGAEVA FOR TIME

In August 2018, Greta Thunberg skipped school. She sat outside one of Sweden’s main government buildings with a sign. It read “School Strike strike ANDREA CHU—GETTY IMAGES a period of time when a person or group stops doing an activity in order to protest something (noun) School was cancelled when the teachers went on strike. for Climate,” in Swedish. Greta was protesting. She was speaking out for the future of the planet. And she was doing it alone.

The next day, one person joined Greta in her strike. “That was a big step, from one to two,” Greta told TIME. Then a few more joined her. Then came hundreds of people. Then came thousands. The young activist had sparked a movement (see “Wave of Change”).


Fighting for the Future

Greta first learned about climate change in elementary school. She saw a video that showed extreme weather and flooding. Her teacher explained that these were because of climate change. This made Greta worried.

Tens of thousands of people gather in Madrid, Spain. They are listening to Greta’s message.


Today, Greta is 17 years old. She gives speeches and meets with world leaders. She demands that people take action to protect Planet Earth. She has inspired millions of others to protest for the future of the planet.

In August 2019, Greta set out on a zero-emissions emission BYOUNGJOO—ISTOCK/GETTY IMAGES something given off (as a gas, for instance) (noun) We could always tell Mom's car by the white cloud of emissions from the tailpipe. sail from the U.K. to the United States. Last September, she spoke to world leaders at the United Nations Climate Action Summit, in New York City.

Here, Greta arrives in New York by boat. This is better for the environment than flying. Above, she speaks at the United Nations.


Greta asked the leaders to focus on science. Scientists have been warning about climate change for many years. Greta is angry that people in power have not taken action. “How dare you?” she said in her speech.

Wave of Change


Greta has inspired millions of people to speak out. There have been climate marches in countries all over the world. People carry signs. They wave flags. They raise their voices in chants. People do this to raise awareness about climate change. What actions can you take to help the environment?