By The Marie Claire Mag Editors
As of 2019, the world could no longer deny we are in a climate crisis. It was the year we said enough is enough. Greta Thunberg became the embodiment of our outrage when she said, “How dare you!” to world leaders. I am confident that this year we will turn the corner. We have the climate solutions, and they come with endless benefits, from safer drinking water to more bike paths to new green jobs. We have work to do, but I know we can do it. We have to. Because climate change isn’t about just polar bears, remote locations, or the distant future. It’s about us, our families, our friends, and our health—today. This is the year we start winning the battle.
These five young people have turned their fears of a warming planet into action and gotten the world’s attention in the process. By Cady Drell
Climate Crusader Greta Thunberg isn’t powerful in spite of her youth; the Swedish 17-year-old’s message resonates so deeply precisely because she is so young. And she’s not alone. Women and girls around the world, plenty of whom haven’t graduated high school yet, are fighting right alongside her, asking everyone to do more to stop the growing threat of a changing planet. Of course, women have been on the front lines of environmental activism for decades: Rachel Carson wrote the groundbreaking 1962 book Silent Spring, which led to federal pesticide regulation; 2004 Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai of Kenya founded Africa’s Green Belt Movement, responsible for the planting of millions of trees on the continent. And then there’s Thunberg herself, the founder of Fridays for Future, a series of weekly strikes demanding government action on climate change. The United Nations estimates that 80 percent of those displaced by climate-change-related disasters are women. Young women in particular will face growing problems associated with a warming world, as many nations (including the U.S.) fail annually to shrink greenhouse-gas emissions. Voters-to-be are understandably scared about the future, but they’re turning that fear into action.
Shoot styled by Sara Holzman. This story appeared in the April 2020 issue of Marie Claire.