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‘Greta effect’: young people are becoming online activists
Via Instagram @gretathunberg

The ‘Greta effect’ is seeing more young people becoming online activists

The Swedish teen is inspiring a political revolution among her peers

If you enjoy watching adult men get blotchy and red in the face when told by someone younger than them that they should eat less meat, or drive less and cycle more, then you’re in luck because there’s now an army of Greta Thunbergs bringing untold misery to the Piers Morgans of the world.

According to communications watchdog Ofcom, there’s been an increase in online activism among young people, which has been dubbed the ‘Greta effect’ in a shout out to the 17-year-old Swedish climate activist.

Last year “saw an increase in the proportion of 12 to 15-year-olds who use social media to support causes and organisations by sharing and commenting on posts”, Ofcom said, while nearly a fifth (18 per cent) of that same age bracket used social media in 2019 “to express support for causes and organisations that may be environmental, charitable, or political”, up from 12 per cent in 2018. 

Thunberg took her school strike for climate movement to an international level in 2019, inspiring children all over the world to walk out of lessons and lectures demanding immediate action on climate change. Young people across the UK skipped school to protest for climate action, joining one of the biggest marches of its kind in February last year.

Delivering some universal home truths about the climate emergency has angered all the right people – AKA middle-aged men in positions of power – and galvanised a wave of young activists. Looks like there is hope for the future of the human race after all.