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Greta Thunberg: The Swedish Schoolkid Who Went On Strike And Sparked A Global Movement

Sweden had its hottest summer on record in 2018 and that struck a chord with Greta Thunberg.

She was concerned not just about the rapid change of the climate, but also the lack of action the Swedish government appeared to be taking on the issue.

So she went on strike.

Sitting in front of the Swedish Parliament, with a sign that read 'school strike for climate', Thunberg skipped her lessons to encourage politicians to act on climate change.

Her first strike occurred in September 2018, and she vowed to continue her strike every Friday.

Greta Thunberg
Greta protesting in Davos, Switzerland 2019. Image: Reuters

Just a few months after the first Friday Greta skipped school, students all over the world started walking out of their classrooms in the name of climate change.

School students in Australia were one of the first groups to mobilise. In November 2018, students in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Canberra and Hobart skipped school to lobby the government to take meaningful action on climate change.

READ MORE: All The Best Signs From The School Climate Strikes Around Australia

Hundreds of students lined up outside Parliament House demanding to speak to Prime Minister Scott Morrison and senior members of parliament demanding urgent action on climate change.

READ MORE: I'm Taking Two Hours Off School To Teach Scott Morrison A Climate Lesson

100 students on Parliament House demanding action on climate change. Image: Supplied

Tens of thousands of school and university students across the globe have also participated in the walk-off since September including youths in Belgium, Germany, the United States, Japan and more than a dozen other countries.

Last Friday, students in the UK walked out of classrooms in the most recent protest inspired by Thunberg.

The protest called 'Youth Strike 4 Climate' took place in more than 60 British cities and towns. Thousands of students also gathered outside the Houses of Parliament in London.

Since her movement gained international attention and support, the 16-year-old has spoken at multiple events urging action on global warming.

London Climate Protest
Students protesting in London, England. Image: Reuters

In November 2018, she spoke at TEDx Stockholm. She spoke of her concern for the future of her children and grandchildren if the climate is changed permanently and declared, "we can’t change the world by playing by the rules, because the rules have to be changed".

In December 2018, Thunberg addressed the COP24 United National climate change summit.

Most recently, Thunberg addressed the World Economic Forum in January 2019.  She arrived in Davos, Switzerland for the meeting following a 32-hour train journey. Thunberg decided not to travel by plane due to the fumes commercial jets emit into the atmosphere.

Greta Thunberg
Greta addressing the World Economic Forum in January 2019. Image: Reuters

She urged delegates to think of the world's youth when they make businesses decisions that could impact the climate.

"I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. We owe it to the young people, to give them hope," she said.

Featured Image: Getty Images.

Contact Siobhan at skenna@networkten.com.au