In August of 2018, 15-year-old Greta Thunberg walked out of school and sat, alone, outside the Swedish parliament with a hand-painted cardboard sign saying ‘Skolstrejk för klimatet‘ (School strike for the climate ).
Nobody had any idea of the ripple effect that it would have around the world. By March, Greta’s solo protest had turned into a global movement when 1.4 million young people joined to make a stand across 2,233 cities in 128 countries.
Last Friday, in the week that thousands gathered in Eyre Square to launch the Galway 2020 programme, 4,600 climate events took place in 150 countries. This time, the adults joined in.
Clearly, sustainability is an idea that has found its time.
For decades, we all talked about climate change, pollution, and saving the rainforests. But the problem was always something we could deal with later.
Now, that future has arrived.
You don’t need to start a global movement to make an impact. And you don’t need to rely on councils, governments, or corporations to make a difference. You and I matter too. Citizens matter.
We all have a gift… the opportunity to live more sustainably, in a world that we’re proud to pass on to future generations.
The real changes start small, just like Greta and her banner.
In this new column, I’ll share advice, resources and projects that will help you live a rich life, in a way that protects our planet for our children and their children’s children.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
— Margaret Mead
Janis Vitols is an entrepreneur and sustainability advocate who believes that we all thrive when our communities thrive. He founded ecofuel.ie in 2014 to help reduce the carbon footprint of Irish households.