In August 2018, fifteen-year-old Greta Thunberg started protesting in front of the Swedish parliament building, kickstarting what would become the School Strike for Climate. Since that day, Thunberg’s actions have helped bring conversations about the climate crisis to the forefront, forcing governments, companies, and individuals to make changes. Throughout, she has used Twitter as a powerful tool to get her message across and to connect others in the fight to protect the planet.
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By December 2018, more than 20,000 students around the world had joined her in skipping classes on Fridays as an act of protest. By 2019, most people in the world probably knew the name Greta Thunberg, and in March 2019 more than one million strikers in 2,200 strikes across 125 countries gathered to demand action from political and economic leaders and the fossil fuel industry.
On September 20th, 2019, the largest climate strikes in the world took place. More than 4 million protesters gathered across 4,500 strikes in 150 countries, followed by another 2 million demonstrators a week later. Hundreds of thousands of children, and adults, have continued to strike every Friday, with Thunberg marking her 124th School Strike Week on January 1st, 2021.
Here are some of the best Greta Thunberg tweets to inspire you and others to act now. They’ve already inspired actress and activist Jane Fonda to enter the fray in style!
1. “Let’s change this!”
Starting off 2021 with a bang, Thunberg paid tribute to those fighting the good fight. Acknowledging that those favoring the status quo still outnumber those of us working to tackle the climate crisis, the now eighteen-year-old says, “Let’s change this!”
My deepest gratitude to everyone fighting to wake people up to the climate and ecological crisis.— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) January 1, 2021
The reason we’re still in this mess is because we’re outnumbered by those telling us to go back to sleep, saying sufficient action is taken when it’s not.
In 2021, let’s change this! pic.twitter.com/rjGfYfL5ac
2. Being different is a ‘superpower’
In 2019, the 45th U.S. President had some characteristically unpleasant things to say about Greta Thunberg after her rousing speech at the United Nations, but she shot back in style. Shutting down the hater in chief, Thunberg pointed out that ad hominem attacks smack of desperation and that, actually, having Asperger’s is one of her biggest strengths.
Trump was also probably pretty angry that Thunberg, not him, was named Time magazine’s Person of the Year.
When haters go after your looks and differences, it means they have nowhere left to go. And then you know you’re winning!— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) August 31, 2019
I have Aspergers and that means I’m sometimes a bit different from the norm. And – given the right circumstances- being different is a superpower.#aspiepower pic.twitter.com/A71qVBhWUU
3. The house is on fire
Thunberg delivered perhaps one of her most memorable statements in a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in 2019. Speaking to world leaders, economic policy makers, and some of the worst offending climate polluters across the world, Thunberg said:
“I don’t want your hope. I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic, I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. And then I want you to act. I want you to act as if you would in a crisis. I want you to act as if the house was on fire, because it is.”
Thunberg has referenced the ‘house on fire’ analogy in several subsequent tweets, including one perfectly powerful and succinct #2019in5words tweet and this tweet from January 4th, 2021, which has already garnered more than a quarter million likes.
When your house is on fire you don’t wait another 10, 20 or 30 years before calling the fire department.— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) January 4, 2021
When your house is on fire you don’t wait another 10, 20 or 30 years before you stop actively pouring petroleum on the flames. You act now.
In every way you possibly can.
4. “In a crisis we change our behaviour”
Acknowledging that the world changed in 2020, Thunberg quickly pivoted to keep the School Climate Strike momentum going. Listening to the scientists, Thunberg urged her followers to avoid public gatherings, wear masks if they couldn’t physically distance, and to keep up the pressure by joining the #DigitalStrike for Fridays for Future.
Mere minutes after her tweet on March 13th, 2020, as many parts of the world began to stay home to stay safe, hundreds, then thousands, of student protestors posted photos and used the hashtag #ClimateStrikeOnline to continue their demonstrations. Once again, Thunberg showed herself to be an adaptable and creative leader, which is exactly what she’s been calling for in elected officials.
School strike week 82. In a crisis we change our behaviour and adapt to the new circumstances for the greater good of society.— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) March 13, 2020
Join the #DigitalStrike – post a pic of you with a sign and use #ClimateStrikeOnline ! #schoolstrike4climate #fridaysforfuture #climatestrike #COVIDー19 pic.twitter.com/fZkjqN3DOw
5. “No one is stopping you.”
Finally, putting the lie to government inaction everywhere, Greta Thunberg gives world leaders ‘permission’ to take bold action to back up their claims that they want to do more. “No one is stopping you,” Thunberg says, and she’s right.
“We need to step up our game” all our leaders keep saying.— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) December 12, 2020
Well then, please go ahead!
You don’t need UN summits, treaties or ”deals” to start lowering emissions.
Nor do you need to wait for anyone else.
You can start right this second!
No-one is stopping you.#FightFor1Point5
Final thoughts on Greta Thunberg
As inspiring as these tweets are from Thunberg, she herself has made it painfully clear that she doesn’t want to be called an inspiration. She even turned down a significant environmentalist award recently, noting that she doesn’t want praise, she wants action.
Social media and online petitions are one thing, but what has been termed ‘slacktivism’ doesn’t always get a lot done. Sure, it can raise the profile of a cause of movement, which helps reach new supporters and change minds, but it can also lead to a false sense of security that more is being done about an issue than is actually happening, which can make us all feel less obligated to take action ourselves.
Now eighteen, Thunberg doesn’t show any signs of stopping her long-fought campaign to hold politicians and others accountable. She has spoken at the United Nations and other forums, including the World Economic Forum in Davos, where she called on banks, investors, and governments to stop subsidizing and investing in fossil fuels. Thunberg said, “Instead, they should invest their money in existing sustainable technologies, research and in restoring nature.”
So, what does Greta want from you? Thunberg urges us all to campaign, write to and call our elected officials, join protests and rallies, have conversations with neighbours, colleagues, peers, friends, and family to help raise awareness of more sustainable lifestyle choices. For more ideas, see our post on what you can do right now to tackle climate change.