How Greta Thunberg is inspiring a new era of activism

Greta Thunberg was the name on all the headlines last year. For good reason. Thunberg represented hope for the future of our planet in the form of a fresh voice: a 16-year-old girl.

Now, the impact of Thunberg’s legacy has taken a new turn, in the form of something which has been aptly dubbed the “Greta effect”.

greta thunberg

We live in an age where it’s easy to feel utterly helpless. Yet Greta Thunberg took a stand, and now she’s inspiring a new wave of young climate activists.

According to UK communications watchdog, Ofcom, there’s been an increase in online activism among young people since the teenager first came into the spotlight in 2018 for protesting alone in front of the Swedish Parliament when she was just fifteen.

Ofcom described that last year “saw an increase in the proportion of 12 to 15-year-olds who use social media to support causes and organisations by sharing and commenting on posts”.

Nearly a fifth of that age bracket used social media “to express support for causes and organisations that may be environmental, charitable, or political” – a figure which was up 12% from 2018.

Thunberg’s early solo protests ultimately led to a global school climate strike movement named Fridays for Future. Children all over the world walked out on lessons, demanding immediate action on climate change.

This week it was revealed that Thunberg has been nominated for the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize. Last year she was named Time’s Person of the Year.

In January of this year, Patti Smith wrote a poem for Thunberg on her 17th birthday.