Can Young People Speak for Themselves?

Updated: Jun 20

Young climate activist Greta Thunburg has recently attracted a lot of attention - both positive and negative from the media.



Recently, Greta Thunberg's address to the United Nations has stirred up a lot of strong feelings among adults all over the world. Some support Greta and loved her speech, but others have been incredibly negative. Some people have claimed that Greta is just a puppet for adults - repeating speeches that adults have written for her or communicating an agenda given to her by adults. People who say such things must never have met any of our debating students! Our Rise & Shine debating students absolutely write their own speeches and definitely have their own thoughts and ideas. We predominantly work with students aged 10 and over and even at age 10, students are capable of writing their own speeches with their own ideas. The notion that a teenager is not capable of writing her own speech is ludicrous. Even more outrageous is the idea that a young person must be promoting an adult agenda if they feel passionately about a topic such as climate change and speak out about it. We constantly see our young students expressing their own strong feelings about injustice, animal cruelty, the environment and more. Young people are so much smarter and more capable than adults often give them credit for. At Rise & Shine, we believe in the power of young people to help change the world. We believe that young people deserve a voice on matters that are important to them and that they should be supported to speak up when they feel passionately about something. We believe in looking for and encouraging young people to develop their speaking skills and we believe in the innate intelligence and capability of every student. Here is Greta's speech to the United Nations. We believe that it truly comes from her heart and at Rise & Shine, we say "go Greta!!!"