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28 Jan, 2020 07:50

‘Stop calling me Greta of India’: 8yo climate activist says comparisons to Thunberg ‘delete’ her own campaign

‘Stop calling me Greta of India’: 8yo climate activist says comparisons to Thunberg ‘delete’ her own campaign

Young Indian environmental activist Licypriya Kangujam slammed journalists for comparing her to Greta Thunberg, despite the fact that she began campaigning before the world knew who her Swedish colleague even was.

“Dear Media, Stop calling me ‘Greta of India’. I am not doing my activism to [look] like Greta Thunberg,” Kangujam, 8, tweeted.

While praising the Swedish climate activist as inspirational and “a great influencer,” Kangujam said “we have [a] common goal but I have my own identity, story.”

If you call me ‘Greta of India’, you are not covering my story. You are deleting a story.

Kangujam became an activist at a much younger age than Thunberg. As she noted, she launched her ‘Child Movement’ “even before Greta was started.” In July 2018, then-six-year-old Kangujam participated in the UN-sponsored Asia Ministerial Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction 2018 (AMCDRR 2018), a month before Thunberg began her now-famous school strike. In August of that year, Thunberg, who was 15 at the time, skipped school to protest outside the Swedish parliament demanding more action against climate change.

Kangujam, meanwhile, has been staging similar protests outside parliament in New Delhi. “As I felt my work is more important than the organization, I have less publicity and media coverage,” she said.

Kangujam’s tweet has received over a hundred thousand likes. Some commenters thanked her for her work and argued that it is unfair that her activism is overshadowed by Thunberg’s. “I get frustrated with the media because kids who have been doing this work at younger ages, earlier times, and in more dire situations have been overlooked,” one person wrote.

“I’ve been speaking up about climate change in Malaysia and people call any young activists ‘The Greta of Malaysia’, I don’t take that as a compliment,” Kuala Lumpur-based activist Aroe Ajoeni wrote.

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Others advised Kangujam to “get back to school” because “the change will come from within the system when kids your age will be in a position to change the country and the world at large.”

In one of her tweets from January, the young activist said she had resumed her school lessons after almost a year of absence.

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