Seventeen year old Greta Thunberg has taken the world by storm in recent months. The young activist has recently become the face of Climate Change after challenging politicians and big corporations about the current global crisis. Greta who had just recently won ‘Time’s Person of the Year’ for 2019 has been doing a lot of good in the world and despite the naysayers I believe she can bring about real change with this growing epidemic. Her valiant efforts and strong ideologies see the 17-year old nominated for the illustrious Nobel Peace Prize.
Greta, who grew up in Stockholm, Sweden has been a force to reckon with when it comes to Climate Change and whilst I support her and her efforts I do have one problem. One of Greta’s most famous lines “You have stolen my childhood” in her famous speech to UN world leaders had left me thinking about one thing. The poor children in third world countries who have already had the childhood stolen from them be it from the after effects of colonialism, corporate greed, extreme poverty or disease.
These children have had their voices suffocated and drowned out by the post-colonial repercussions, corporate greed and constant rape and pillaging of their national resources in their country. Going on current trends it is estimated that 2 out of 5 children will be born into and/or experience extreme poverty in Africa by the 2030 that is over 305 million children. That accounts for more than half of global poverty. It is also estimated that 1 in 5 African children are forced to work in mines, farms and quarries. Some of the most extreme forms of child labor include slavery, sexual exploitation, child soldiers, and drug trafficking.
So whilst I commend Greta and what she has done thus far, my heart bleeds for all the children who are forced to abandon their childhood and for those who weren’t really given the option. Majority of children in Africa, India etc are born with a burden that wasn’t really theirs to begin with. Poverty, disease and famine are a daily recurrence for these children who still don’t have access to basic needs such as healthcare, education, water, electricity etc. The problems Greta has faced coming from a first world country is a molehill compared to the monumental mountain African, Indian etc children face the minute they are conceived. It is these kids who are and will suffer the most with regards to Climate Change, big corporations, mining and oil companies etcetera for they have already had their childhood stolen from them.