You Are Stealing Our Air


Greta Thunberg speaking at the United Nations | Photo credit: Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images

Zoeie McKnight, Student Life Writer

Climate change is an issue that is just now coming to light even though it has been going on for decades and decades, probably as far back as the Industrial Revolution. This issue has become so bad that we, as living beings, now have an estimated death date. Children who are being born this very moment might not live past the age of 10. People like me, who are still in high school, will just be starting their adult life right as the world might end. Climate change is one of the most important things in the world yet the only people who seem to be taking action are the people who legally cannot vote. Who legally cannot drink. Most are not even legal adults. Yet the people who can affect change are inactive. They are watching this happen. They are letting this happen. They are ignoring climate change and pushing it on to the people who should be studying, who should be getting their first jobs, the people who should not have to worry about dying at 26.

Greta Thunberg is a 16-year-old climate activist who recently spoke to the United Nations about climate change. On September 23, 2019, Thunberg gave a five-minute speech that was so powerful, it was shared and sent and posted all across the globe. 

Even though she is 16 and living with Asperger’s syndrome, she is talking about climate change to millions of people around the world. While adults are out there not doing anything but mocking her, making fun of her, saying that she doesn’t know what she’s talking about. 

In her powerful five-minute speech, Greta addresses the CObudget of the world, which is an estimate of how much more Carbon Dioxide can go into the air before the temperature of the Earth gets over 1.5 degrees Celsius. If that happens, it would mean that ice caps would melt faster, more landslides would occur on mountains, sea levels could rise causing catastrophic flooding on coast lines, etc. Even after researching this, I still don’t have a very good understanding of what it is, but according to Greta, “the world had 420 gigatons of CO₂ to emit [into the air] back on January 1, 2018. But, today that figure is down to less than 350 gigatons,” meaning that there are less than 350 gigatons of CO₂ that can go up into the air before the temperature of Earth rises above 1.5 degrees Celsius. 

The largest point that Greta is trying to convey to the world is that because no one has done anything about climate change for at least the past 100 years, it has gotten to the point that teenagers in the 21st century are needing to rise up in order to possibly live past the age of 30. In her speech, she constantly repeats the line, “How dare you,” because she is angry, we are all angry that we will not be able to have the lives we deserve. Greta concludes her speech by saying “The world is waking up and change is coming whether you like it or not,” which refers to all the student climate strikes that happened just last week. 

Greta’s speech is linked below, if you have not watched it, I think you should.