News from the scientific world

Who is Greta Thunberg?

In my last post I mentioned the fact that we all live on this planet but we know nothing about it and also that there is a pretty delicate balance that allows life on heart and we should do everything to preserve it. Therefore today I would like to talk a bit about climate change (that unfortunately is real and is happening) and then talk about the global strike for climate change that took place on the 15th of March and her promoter, Greta Thunberg.

I want to start with a bold statement: climate change already happened, this story has already been told almost two billion years ago. Living organisms were hungry for energy and they found an easy and continuous way to obtain it. Unfortunately, the price they had to pay to get this energy was to diffuse lethal gasses in the atmosphere. These lethal gasses polluted the air, changing the shape of the planet and killing an incalculable amount of organisms. Only few lucky individuals survived, either by hiding away from the poisonous gas or by learning how to live with it, up to the point that it became essential. This event is called “The Great Oxygenation Event“ and it is considered the first mass extinction on our planet. We need oxygen to live but we always forget that by itself it is a toxic gas that attacks biological molecules and the fact that we can breath it, it is only because we have enzymes that are able to eliminate its toxic products.

Today the lethal gasses changed but the situation is the same. We have to keep global warming below +1.5 °C in order to be able to at least deal with the climate change that it is happening. Along with unheard scientist and specialist claiming that we have to start tackling the problem and trying to raise awareness in the people, there is a figure that emerged: Greta Thunberg (see picture below).

Greta Thunberg, 16 years old Swedish student, leader of the Friday’s for Future movement, sitting in front of the Swedish parliament with her famous sign: school strike for climate. From cisiamo.info

She is a 16 years old Swedish student that, inspired by the high-school students in Florida who began protesting gun violence after 14 of their classmates were killed, decided to protest the Swedish government lack of response to the climate crisis. This August 2018 she started the first strike for climate outside the Swedish parliament building, where she sat everyday during school hours with the sign Skolstrejk för klimatet (school strike for climate). After the Swedish general elections in September, she continued to strike every Friday, gaining worldwide attention. She joined several demonstrations around Europe, she spoke at TEDxStockholm and she got invited as a speaker at the COP24 United Nations climate change summit, the World Economic Forum and the European Economic and Social committee. She became the voice of youth exasperation and leader of the Friday’s for Future movement.

An estimated 1.4 million young people in 123 countries skipped school this Friday, the 15th of March, to join the climate change march to demand stronger climate policies in what could be one of the largest environmental protests in history. Hopefully these voices will be heard. I would like to conclude this post with a quote by Hubert Reeves: “Man is the most insane species. He worships an invisible God and destroys a visible Nature. Unaware that this Nature he is destroying is this God he is worshipping”.

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