“Our house is on fire,” and since August 2018, when Greta Thunberg first protested outside Swedish parliament for more action on climate change, the teen activist has asked—no, demanded—that we react.
As the world grapples with the coronavirus pandemic, a new ad from Thunberg’s climate movement Fridays For Future reminds us that the climate crisis is still a very real threat.
Named after Thunberg’s now-iconic January 2019 speech given at the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos, the new 60-second ad shows a family going about their daily business while their house is on fire. Parents wake up, make breakfast, pack their children off to school like everything is fine. Their house is ablaze, but they don’t flinch.
‘Act As You Would In a Crisis’
In her Davos speech, Thunberg talked about the lack of political action around the climate crisis. She warned of the dangers of apathy and the potentially disastrous consequences for millions of people.
If global warming rises above 1.5 degrees Celsius, extreme weather will be exacerbated and sea levels will rise. The impact on ecosystems and human beings could be devastating.
“We all have a choice,” she said in the 2019 speech. “We can create transformational action that will safeguard the living conditions for future generations. Or we can continue with our business as usual and fail.”
She added: “I want you to act as you would in a crisis. I want you to act as if our house is on fire. Because it is.”
Immediate, Collective Action
Fridays For Future partnered with agency FF Los Angeles to bring Thunberg’s analogy to life. The ad was released on Earth Day 2020.
“This young and highly inspiring organization founded by visionary activist Greta Thunberg is making a huge impact,” FF founders Fred Raillard and Farid Mokart said in a statement. “Our agency is honored to help in any way that we can.”
In the past few weeks and months, countries have implemented lockdowns to try and prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. The reduced activity has caused pollution levels to drop around the world. Many fear that when the pandemic is over, they will soar back up again.
“We’ve moved past the time where it’s enough just to be worried,” Joe Hobbs, an organizer for Fridays For Future U.S. said. “We need immediate, collective action. We hope that by watching this video, people realize they need to take action now instead of putting it off until later.”
Fighting the Coronavirus Crisis
Thunberg has also turned her attention to the ongoing coronavirus crisis. Together with the Danish organization Human Act Foundation, she has launched a campaign to help finance the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF). Together, Human Act and Thunberg have given $200,000 to the campaign as an initial donation.
UNICEF is currently working to help children from families that have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Thunberg said in a statement: “Like the climate crisis, the coronavirus pandemic is a child rights crisis. It will affect all children, now and in the long-term, but vulnerable groups will be impacted the most. I’m asking everyone to step and join me in support of UNICEF’s vital work to save children’s lives, to protect health, and continue education.”