Young Climate Activists Greta Thunberg and Vanessa Nakate Write an Open Letter to the Media


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A post shared by Vanessa Nakate (@vanessanakate1)

In a bid to encourage more people to take the future of our planet seriously, Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg and Ugandan climate-justice activist Vanessa Nakate issued an open letter to the media. The two young campaigners urged the press to pay more attention to the “Global North's moral responsibility to move much faster in reducing their emissions.” That’s because by the end of this year, “the world will have collectively burned through 89% of the carbon budget that gives us a 66% chance of staying below 1.5 °C.”

Our carbon budget is integral to our survival. It is the amount of CO2 that humanity can emit while still having a chance to contain global warming within 1.5 °C, and was agreed by nearly all nations Under the Paris Agreement in 2015. If global temperatures exceed this limit, much of our planet’s land will become uninhabitable, due to extreme climates, droughts, and floods. And these catastrophic events will lead to “irreversible chain reactions beyond human control.”

However, Thunberg and Nakata claim that the climate crisis is much more than “melting glaciers, wildfires, droughts, deadly heat waves, floods, hurricanes, [and] loss of biodiversity.” These are the tragic results of a “destabilizing planet,” but there are three fundamental issues that more people in the media should be reporting on: time, holistic thinking, and justice.

In the letter, Thunberg and Nakata explain each of the three issues in depth, giving readers a better understanding of why they are key to fighting climate change. “First, the notion of time,” they write. “If your stories do not include the notion of a ticking clock, then the climate crisis is just a political topic among other topics, something we can just buy, build or invest our way out of.” The young activists explain that by not thinking of the bigger picture, it will be too late. They write, “Leave out the aspect of time and we can continue pretty much like today and ‘solve the problems’ later on. 2030, 2050 or 2060.” They continue, “The best available science shows that with our current rate of emissions, our remaining carbon budget for staying below 1.5 °C will run out before the end of this decade.”

The second issue is holistic thinking. “When considering our remaining carbon budget, we need to count all the numbers and include all of our emissions,” says Thunberg and Nakata. “Currently, you are letting high-income nations and big polluters off the hook, allowing them to hide behind the incomplete statistics, loopholes and rhetoric they have fought so hard to create during the last 30 years.”

The third and “most important of all” issue is justice. “The climate crisis isn’t just about extreme weather,” the activists write. “It’s about people. Real people. And the very people who have done the least to create the climate crisis are suffering the most.” They add, “And while the Global South is on the frontlines of the climate crisis, it’s almost never on the front pages of the world’s newspapers. As Western media focuses on wildfires in California or Australia or flooding in Europe, climate-related catastrophes are ravaging communities across the Global South, but receive very little coverage.”

Thunberg and Nakata are frustrated at our world leaders for failing to address the crisis, and believe the press has a responsibility to spread information, so that we as individuals can make the changes ourselves. “We need immediate, drastic, annual emission reductions unlike anything the world has ever seen,” they write. “And as we don’t have the technological solutions that alone will do anything close to that in the foreseeable future, it means we have to make fundamental changes in our society.”

Addressing publishers all over the world, Thunberg and Nakata write, “You are among our last hopes.” They continue, “No one else has the possibility and the opportunity to reach as many people in the extremely short timeframe we have. We cannot do this without you.”

You can read Thunberg and Nakata’s entire letter here. You can also sign the emergency appeal for climate action, a campaign run by Thunberg, Nakate, Dominika Lasota, and Mitzi Tan.

In a bid educate more people on the issues of climate change, activists Greta Thunberg and Vanessa Nakate issued an open letter to the media.


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A post shared by Vanessa Nakate (@vanessanakate1)


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A post shared by Greta Thunberg (@gretathunberg)


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Greta Thunberg (@gretathunberg)

Greta Thunberg: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | YouTube
Vanessa Nakate: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter
h/t: [Time]

All images via Greta Thunberg and Vanessa Nakate.

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Emma Taggart

Emma Taggart is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met. Originally from Northern Ireland, she is an artist now based in Berlin. After graduating with a BA in Fashion and Textile Design in 2013, Emma decided to combine her love of art with her passion for writing. Emma has contributed to various art and culture publications, with an aim to promote and share the work of inspiring modern creatives. While she writes every day, she’s also devoted to her own creative outlet—Emma hand-draws illustrations and is currently learning 2D animation.
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