How a youth activist started a global campaign

Sophie lucassen
4 min readJan 17, 2020


Greta Thunberg has probably caught your attention the last few years. The Swedish environmental activist spread her image across the globe by camping out in front of the Swedish parliament elections. She later claimed to proceed her activism until the Paris climate agreement is actually followed up by governments. While holding up her sign which said “school strike for climate” she gained impressive media attention and became an icon for several youth activists. Her actions led to climate strikes across the globe, where students skipped school on Fridays to protest for a better world. The protest goes under the name of ‘Fridays for future’ where students gather to protest.

Reduce the carbon footprint

Not only did Greta inspire these young students, but also her own parents. Her goal is to reduce their carbon footprint (and everyone else’s), to achieve this she made sure they gave up air traveling and eating meat. The carbon footprint of the average human is 20 metric tons, this means that if we take the average of an American citizen and apply it to everyone, we need four globes in total to sustain.

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Though America is high when it comes to a carbon footprint, they still have not outdone China. In the map below you will see the different carbon emissions measured in countries, and the comparison between them.

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The importance of social reach

Greta is quite a popular source on the internet, from memes of her ‘death stare’ towards US president Trump to powerful insights about the climate. After her speech at the UN climate action summit she obtained 12.4 million followers. Only on her Twitter she already has got a follower base over 4 million accounts. From Twitter to Facebook she has only drastically multiplied her follower base after the UN speech.

Not only does Greta have a high reach on the social channels, also the UN itself is the biggest account when discussing the topic #climateaction. The UN has a significant follower base compared to the other channels, and is a leader for the discussion on #climateaction.

Fridays for future

With the social reach Greta has, she started the global campaigns as mentioned before, yet she also joined the strikers herself on a journey across the globe. Not only does she mentally support the other strikers, but she also goes beyond her own reach to show her support. During her strike she plans to visit over 287 protests to pay her support to the other strikers. She won’t return to Europe for at least nine months, but she’s staying busy. She’ll tour Canada and Mexico after global climate strike demonstrations end.

participating countries in the school strike: the intensity of the colour determines the amount of protests per country. When the colour is most intense it means that the amount of protests is high in relation to other countries.

A global campaign

In the map above, you will see the participating countries within the school strike. The impact of Greta is high. It is remarkable how a young girl has inspired so many young individuals to fight for their future. The reach Greta has made is immense, and I personally hope that more people take her as a role model. Older generations discuss milennials and Gen-Z often, we may be addicted to our smartphones and we might not have the best table manners, but we do make a difference. We fight for the future that was taken from us, and Greta is our leader. In our ongoing shift where we strive to go from eco to ego, we have to make our sacrifices, just as Greta does. Greta shows exactly how an individual can make an enormous impact.



Sophie lucassen

Creative Business student | Content Specialist at Vigouroo 📍Utrecht.