‘You are failing us’: Greta Thunberg gets down to the business of sustainability

Scarlett Buckley
September 25, 2019 · 3 min read

With all eyes on Greta Thunberg at the 2019 Climate Action Summit and her eye-opening truths, sustainability in business is back in the spotlight

The United Nations’ secretary-general António Guterres wanted global leaders to bring plans, not speeches to the 2019 Climate Action Summit held in New York, in the US this week. Greta Thunberg drew media attention as she spoke about her lack of faith in these plans.

“You are failing us,” Thunberg said, with fury in her eyes. “We will not let you get away with this. Right here, right now is where we draw the line.”

Together with 15 international young people, she filed a lawsuit arguing the carbon-polluting countries are violating the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which states children have the right to life, health, and peace.

“People are suffering, people are dying, entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are at the beginning of a mass extinction and all you can talk about is money and fairytales of eternal economic growth."

Human civilization is eroding our planet at an unprecedented pace. Carbon dioxide is up by 411 parts per million; global temperature has increased by 1.9 degrees Fahrenheit since 1880; and ice sheets are dropping by 413 Gigatonnes per year. If a radical difference is to be made then radical actions need to be taken. The United Nations defines sustainability as

''Meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

However, the threat of global warming accompanied by uncontrolled human behaviors, are compromising the ability for future generations to pursue a life which utilizes the resources and environment we have. If a change is to be made then understandings of economic, social and political influences need to be promoted on a global scale. Higher education can play a critical role in promoting sustainability, through partnership with student and regional communities. Through education, sustainability can be promoted to shape students learners into active practitioners of sustainable citizenship behaviors.

People should be educated not just on how to live sustainably, but how to research, critically analyze, and promote a greener life. If people are more conscientious and aware of the values and importance of their actions, then a preserved world for the future can be encouraged, and through education, a difference made.

For a change to be realized, there needs to be a shift from our reliance on industrial machines, to scientific, inventive innovations which allow us to work with the environment, instead of against it. Education is therefore paramount in the attainment of this shift. The UN has also stated a number of ‘Sustainable Development Goals’, which involve a set of goals and aims necessary for preserving the environment for the future. The fourth goal on the UN manifesto focuses on the vitality of obtaining quality education of sustainable living to promote the best quality life. It is believed that inclusive educational access is a key factor when looking to create global innovative solutions which will allow us to go head to head with climate change.

Anna Johnston, Nexford’s Brand Content Lead says:

"Through flexible online courses, we help you reduce your carbon footprint by bringing university to your home or workplace reducing the need for any extra travel."

Discover how through innovative courses such as Nexford’s  Environmental Science BBA, and Sustainability MBA, you can take more action toward a more sustainable world.


Photograph: Spencer Platt/Getty Images, taken from 

About the author
Scarlett Buckley
Scarlett Buckley

Scarlett is a researcher at Nexford University, helping shape Nexford’s vision by leading insights

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