Greta Thunberg sat down with Vogue Scandinavia for their first issue to talk about the seriousness of climate change.
This year Vogue did something different than what fashion magazines usually do; it featured an environmental activist as its cover star. Greta Thunberg, a Swedish environmentalist known for challenging world leaders to take quicker action towards climate change, told the magazine how she plans on pursuing climate activism to ignite change.
This year’s issue focuses on nature rather than the usual glitz and glam of the fashion industry. Photographed by Alexandrov Klum, a Swedish photographer, and conservationist, Greta Thunberg dons an upcycled trench coat as she’s seen trekking through a woodland for the cover shoot.
Greta first sparked climate debate back in 2018, which led to her worldwide fame and criticism. She addresses her critics in the interview:
“You have to see it from a larger perspective. Why are they writing these kinds of things? It’s because they feel that we are being too loud and they want to silence us, whether it’s by scaring us or intimidating us, or spreading doubt…So that’s, in a way, a very positive sign we are having an impact.” She further added, “They are not evil, they just don’t know better. At least that’s what I am trying to think.”
While she should be in school, Greta does not seem to have any plans to quit activism. She told the magazine, “The ideal thing would be to just return to school and finish education and not have to worry about the climate. But as long as there is a need for activists, I will probably be an activist.”
Why did a fashion magazine feature a climate change activist?
The magazine’s decision to announce Greta as their cover star comes after the UN launched its climate change report. Martina Bonnier, the magazine’s editor in chief, explained the magazine’s decision to feature the teenage activist, “Not only is she a singular Scandinavian figure and force of change, but she also embodies the love of nature, pursuit of sustainability, and unabashed fearlessness that is at the core of our vision.”
According to the scientists at IPCC, human activities are largely responsible for the rising temperature.
The report outlines that some disruptions caused by climate change could be reversed but we are already past the tipping point. This is evident through recent California fires and the melting glaciers. US Secretary-General, António Guterres, described the recent climate report to be the “code red for humanity”.
Even if we stop now, the temperature will still rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2040 and 1.6°C by 2060, but it will stabilize over time. On the other hand, if we don’t take any immediate steps, the temperature could rise to 2.0°C by 2060 and 2.7°C by the end of the century.
We are currently at around 1.1°C and there are already enough changes that ring the alarm.
According to scientists, a temperature around 1.5°C probably won’t cause any social or economic upheaval. But since we are seeing so many wildfires at just 1.1°C, 1.5°C could mean that people die of heat just by going outside.
According to Ko Barrett, the Deputy Assistant Administrator for Research at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, “It is indisputable that human activities are causing climate change. Each of the last four decades has been the warmest on record since preindustrial times.”
Greta Thunberg, the voice of reason
While talking to the magazine, Greta Thunberg blamed the fashion industry for irresponsible behaviour. She stressed that fashion brands need to take responsibility and stop “greenwashing” their products.
Greenwashing refers to marketing practices where brands mislead consumers into thinking that their products are environmentally friendly.
Greta herself takes sustainability seriously, and that is evident by the fact that she bought a second-hand new clothing item about 3 years ago. “I borrow things from people I know,” she told the magazine.
According to the UN, the fashion industry creates about 20% of wastewater, which is about 93bn cubic meters of water that could help five million people around the globe.
Additionally, the industry is responsible for around 8% of global carbon emissions, which is more than all the global shipping combined.
Thunberg is reinforcing what many other climate activists have done before. Luckily, luxury brands are paying attention. Brands like Lululemon, Kering, and Adidas have already launched green initiatives that will possibly heal if not completely restore the damage done.