The power of voice has long been one of the bedrocks of unionism, with just one voice often being enough to change the course of events—and proving this claim is Greta Thunberg, a Swedish environmental activist who in 2018 sat alone, outside the Swedish Parliament, to call for stronger action on climate change. This one voice grew to four million in just one year. Today, people the world over have joined her to help save the planet. And it is for these efforts that NEA’s highest honor, the NEA Friend of Education, was awarded to Thunberg during NEA’s virtual Representative Assembly on July 3. The award recognizes a person or organization whose leadership, acts, or support have significantly contributed to the improvement of American public education. Thunberg’s activism started after convincing her parents to adopt several lifestyle choices to reduce their own carbon footprint. In August 2018, at age 15, she started spending her school days outside the Swedish parliament holding up a sign that read: Skolstrejk för klimatet (School strike for climate). Soon, other students engaged in similar protests in their own communities. Together, they organized a school climate strike movement under the name “Fridays for Future.” After […]


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