By: Kelly Grounds, Peak Associate
August had no shortage of devastating climate change news. The Amazon Rainforest burned, creating an unprecedented level of damage across the region. Alaska’s July temperatures broke records, leading scientists from the International Panel on Climate Change to publish a report stating that they had underestimated the pace of climate change. But despite all of the environmental doomsday news, there was one bright spot sailing across the Atlantic.
Sixteen-year-old Swedish vegan and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Greta Thunberg set sail on August 14 from London to New York in a carbon neutral yacht. The trip lasted 15 days. In New York, she will speak to the United Nations before moving on to various other speaking engagements across South America in an effort to promote action on climate change.
Thunberg began protesting against climate change in August of 2018 by demanding that the Swedish government begin to take radical actions. However, what’s important to remember is that she is bigger than the choices that have made her a name across the globe. She represents a growing movement within younger generations — a movement that is largely born out of frustration towards government officials’ inaction. This frustration was demonstrated during the March 15 global wave of student walkouts to push for new climate change policies.
Yet, walkouts every few months will not be enough. Thunberg has been successful due to her unrelenting resolve to continue until there are results. We have to embody that resolve rather than simply cheering her on and hoping that she will save us. In order to see the change she advocates, we need to remain vocal and make adjustments in our lives to prove that we are not just words.
SFU has been making the effort to promote green changes in accordance with the growing climate-consciousness as exemplified by Thunberg. The creation of sustainable spaces, and the soon-to-be implemented single-use plastics ban are good starts. But in order to have SFU continue this trend, students need to actively participate and continue to support the implementation of greener changes across campus. Changes towards a greener lifestyle prove that we are serious about climate change and, like Thunberg, need to be taken seriously.