Move over, Boomers! You have run things for more than half a century. 

A 16-year- old has become the face of a new generation of environmentalist. She has gotten much recognition since she appeared on the cover of Time Magazine as the youngest person to be Time’s Person of the Year.

Greta Thunberg, Swedish teen, might remind you of Elian Gonzalez. He almost drowned in such a struggle to come to America. Two opinions divided friends. Should he be allowed to stay and live in freedom, or should he be sent back to his father who worked for a Communist regime?

Malala Yousafzai was an education activist. She became famous after being nominated for the Children’s Peace Prize. She and two other girls were shot on the bus on their way home from school by a Taliban gunman. The Taliban had banned girls from attending school. She survived after much surgery and rehabilitation

Greta has generated the attention of political forces. On September 23, 2019, she addressed the United Nations. She accused the UN delegates of stealing “my dreams and my childhood with your empty words.” Should children feel the burdens of adults?

In her speeches Greta challenged world leaders to do more to stop global warming. Others have criticized her combative tone and wonder why the press is giving space to a “brat” like that.

Greta thinks the real danger is when politicians and CEOs make it look like real action is happening when in fact nothing is being done. This is not leading, this is misleading. She emphasized that every fraction of a degree in climate matters.

Thunberg has no magic solution. But she has succeeded in creating a global shift in attitude, transforming millions of vague, middle-of-the-night anxieties into a worldwide movement calling for urgent change. She has offered a moral call to those who are willing to act, and hurled shame on those who are not. She has persuaded leaders, from mayors to Presidents, to make commitments to change.

JoAn Martin is a retired teacher with five published novels. Reach her at or at

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