Less than a week into the new year, Greta Thunberg is here to remind us that the environmental threats to our planet did not disappear in 2020, and there is still plenty of work to be done in the ongoing fight against climate change. "We need to make sure that right now, we don't relax and fall back asleep because we think, 'Oh, the US is back in the Paris Agreement, now things will turn out okay.' We need to continue pushing even harder now," Thunberg told People in a recent interview, citing President-elect Joe Biden's campaign promise to rejoin the Paris Agreement, which seeks to limit the increase of greenhouse gas emissions to 1.5°C by 2025. Thunberg was vehement about the fact that hypothetical goals like this do not equate to action in the long run. To incite real change, we must make sustainable choices based on scientific data as the climate crisis develops.
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change can take secondary prominence in most people's minds, but Thunberg called on people worldwide to take what we've learned about dealing with crises amid the pandemic and apply that same urgency to saving the planet. "If there's one thing that [the pandemic] has shown us, it is that we can treat a crisis like a crisis," she said. "You can't sit and be depressed or be annoyed at how the world is because you can't do anything to change it. We have just continued like before. We just continue because we know what's at stake, we know that we can't give up. We know that giving up is not an option."
To address these issues head on, Thunberg will advocate for the fight against climate change alongside the Dalai Lama during a panel on Saturday, Jan. 9, hosted by the Mind and Life Institute. The panel, which will be livestreamed on the organization's website and on Facebook at 10:30 p.m. ET, will focus on "Climate Emergency: Feedback Loops," a series of educational films about the factors that contribute to the extremes of the climate change cycle.
On what it means to move forward in the new year, Thunberg said, "My hope for 2021 is that we see an awakening when it comes to the climate and environment, [and] that we start to treat this crisis like the crisis it is and understand what needs to be done — understand that we have failed and that we need to take real bold action right now, that we cannot afford to wait any longer."