In August of 2018, 15-year-old Greta Thunberg walked out of school and sat, alone, outside the Swedish parliament, with a hand-painted cardboard sign saying ‘Skolstrejk för klimatet‘ (School strike for the climate).
By March, Greta’s solo protest had turned into a global movement when 1.4 million young people joined to make a stand across 2,233 cities in 128 countries.
On Friday 20th September, in the week that thousands gathered in Eyre Square to celebrate the launch of the Galway 2020 programme, the climate protests continued to snowball. This time, the adults were getting involved.
In last week’s climate strike, more than 4,600 events took place in 150 countries.
Nobody could predict what would become of Greta’s school walk-out. We had no idea of the ripple effect that it would have around the world.
Clearly it’s an idea that has found its time.
For decades, we’ve all been talking about climate change, pollution, and saving the rainforests. But the problem was always too far away and intangible. It was always something we could deal with in the future. So we put it on the long finger.
Now, that future has arrived. It’s almost 2020 and we can see the impact of these things every day. It’s time to act.
But you don’t need to start a global movement to make an impact. And you don’t need to rely on councils and governments, or even large corporations to make a difference. It’s us, the citizens that matter.
We all have a gift… the opportunity to live more sustainably, in a world that we’re proud to pass on to future generations.
The real changes start small, just like Greta and her banner.
In this new column, I’ll share advice, resources and projects that will help you live a rich life, in a way that respects and protects our planet for our children and their children’s children.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
— Margaret Mead