Hot Topics     Home and Family    

17-year-old activist makes a difference

Greta Thunberg is praised by the NEA for being a‘Rabble Rouser’

In this time of social distancing and wearing masks in public, it is important for parents to encourage their teens to push forward and become the leaders we need to survive in this crazy world.

The recognition of this young activist by the National Education Association is an important symbol. As parents, we need to listen to our teens and support them as they surge forward to make this world a better place to live in.

The National Education Association awarded its highest honor, the Friend of Education Award, to 17-year-old climate change activist Greta Thunberg during NEA’s virtual Representative Assembly this summer. Thunberg is a Swedish environmental activist who gained international recognition for her efforts to alert humanity to the existential crisis caused by climate change. Known for both her youth and straightforward speaking manner, she has criticized world leaders for their failure to take sufficient action to address the climate crisis.

What began in 2018 as a singular child skipping school on Fridays to sit outside the Swedish Parliament to protest climate change has become a global movement. In the past 18 months, she has addressed the United Nations, met with Pope Francis, taken on President Donald Trump and inspired 4 million people to join a global climate strike on September 20, 2019, which became the largest known climate demonstration.

We deserve a safe future. And we demand a safe future, Thunberg said at the Global Climate Strike in New York last year. Is that really too much too ask?

To NEA members, that question is not too much to ask. In fact, it’s the exactly right question to ask as the world stares down real, tangible climate change exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic. In nominating Thunberg, NEA members cited the Swedish teen’s ability to elevate the discussion about science — climate science, in particular — like a next-generation Bill Nye.

“Greta is an ordinary teen who has done something truly extraordinary: she has been able to get people — the adults in charge — to pay attention and listen to her message about climate change. Hopefully they’ll act because future generations, Greta’s generation and others, depend on it,” said NEA President Lily Eskelsen García. “Greta is a rabble rouser, and she’s taking on the world for a better tomorrow.”

The NEA Friend of Education Award is presented during NEA’s annual convention and recognizes a person or organization whose leadership, acts or support have significantly contributed to the improvement of American public education. Thunberg joins Nobel-prize winner Malala Yousafzai as the second-ever student to receive NEA’s highest honor. Other past recipients include leaders of the Public Broadcasting Service and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting; U.S. Presidents Lyndon B. Johnson, Jimmy Carter, and William Jefferson Clinton; U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall; Senator Edward “Ted” Kennedy (D-Mass.); and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), among others.

Other articles by HVP monthly articles

  • Visit Washington’s Headquarters

    Enjoy the views while kids get to run and play

    Seasonal changes also bring about changes at Washington’s Headquarters State Historic Site. The last day of extended hours for 2020, Wednesdays through Sundays, will be Saturday, October 31st. Beginning Friday, November 6th, the site’s Fall/Winter hours will be in effect, Fridays and Saturdays, 11am until 3pm by reservation. read more »
  • The art of setting consequences

    An indispensable tool for parents-if it’s used properly

    We can usually get our kids to behave by giving logical consequences for misbehavior. This article suggests three important steps to take to make it word. read more »
  • Homework Survival Guide

    Start the school year ready for success

    Helping your child with homework can be a fun learning experience or a minefield. Having a plan up front can help minimize stress and tears for your child and wear and tear on you! read more »
  • Simply Fresh Meals

    Using local markets to plan healthy summer meals

    Shopping at farmers markets may not be as convenient as the supermarket, but it’s a wonderful way to introduce healthy foods to your family, and help kids understand our food systems. read more »
  • Baby Safety Tips for Rookie Dads

    Try Boot Camp for Dads

    To a "rookie" dad, everything about baby is a wonder. From the strength of your baby's tiny hand squeeze; the miniature clothing and the pleasant scent of your baby's skin to the crying that sometimes seems capable of shattering glass. read more »
  • Child Safety Tips from Home Safety Council

    Keep your little ones safe and sound

    The Home Safety Council, a non-profit organization dedicated to creating safer American homes, gives tips to keep your family safe at home read more »
  • Don't be a brat!

    Resources for parents of only children

    If you're raising an only child, here are some great resources to get you started! read more »