When we first started this site in 2006, eco-friendly was one of our most popular tags. Parents were concerned about where their products were made, what ingredients were in them, and how they impacted the planet. Then the recession hit. Suddenly no one wanted to pay more for organics — let alone handmade wooden toys that weren’t shipped from China. Small companies that focused one organic textiles switched to cheaper, non-organic processes to stay in businesses. It was disheartening to us, but it was what it was.
That all changed this year. Significantly. And we credit the change in large part to the incredible, undeniably impactful activism of Greta Thunberg.
The very morning we agreed to name her one of our top picks in our Editors Best of the Year in 2019, we opened up Twitter to see that Time Magazine had the same idea. Which is 100% perfectly deserved. There’s hardly even a close second.
Photo: Evgenia Arbugaeva for TIME
It’s hard not to ignore the positive impact this one 16-year-old girl (with autism, no less) has had on the world in just 16 months since embarking on her own personal climate strike. She’s impacted our kids, our world leaders (at least the ones decent enough not to mock her on social media), our celebrity activists, and hopefully, all of us, that we all might do more in the effort to combat the looming climate crisis across the globe.
“When you are a leader and every week you have young people demonstrating with such a message, you cannot remain neutral,” French President Emmanuel Macron told TIME. “They helped me change.”
Greta is in large part why we’re now carrying around reusable metal or silicone straws, making contributions to conservation groups, breaking up with single-use products, shopping for hybrid cars, rethinking what we buy locally and what we have shipped, cutting back on meat consumption.
And as parents, she’s why we’re now supporting our kids as they participate in their own climate strike marches and discover their own passion for environmental activism and the essential need to protect the one Earth we have.
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SO proud of this kid! Not just for participating in the NYC #climatestrike march, but lobbying her school for permission for all kids to go. Meanwhile, not sure which of the posters I like best…?? -L . #climatechangemarch #globalclimatestrike #climatestrikenyc #climatecrisis #climatechangeisreal
As with Malala Yousafzai, our kids see in Greta Thunberg a reminder never to doubt the ability for a single person to make a difference. Even if that single person isn’t yet old enough to vote.
Top photo: Anders Hellberg via Creative Commons CC BY-SA 4.0