No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference

by Greta Thunberg

Paperback, ?

Publication

Penguin

Description

"The groundbreaking speeches of Greta Thunberg, the young climate activist who has become the voice of a generation, including her historic address to the United Nations"--

Media reviews

Thunberg's appeal to us now is slightly different. Her simple emotion and "black-and-white" rationalism suggest authenticity and trust to her audience, many of whom are wary of adult experts suspected of harbouring hidden agendas. [...] And as a small, isolated figure, with her pigtails and open
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face, poised bravely behind an enormous lectern, facing down a roomful of powerful, suited adults, she embodies what it's like to be an individual who yearns for change, against a juggernaut of commercial and political interests defending the status quo. I wonder if many of us right now, across a multitude of political persuasions, see ourselves in Thunberg, in the fragility of our political and environmental hopes, and our sense of personal impotence. As she says: "I'm too young to do this. We children shouldn't have to do this." A greater readiness to involve ourselves in collective action would go a long way towards lessening not just Thunberg's vulnerability, but our own.
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User reviews

LibraryThing member infjsarah
A pocketbook sized short book of speeches made by climate protestor Greta Thunberg. There is some repetition as they are speeches she has made in different places. She's right of course, we should be panicking but we're not and despite the title of the book I think most people just find the whole
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thing overwhelming and too big to handle. Plus we have a culture and economy tangled together with carbon energy and how do we untangle it in such a short time? The biggie for me is home heating - there is no good and effective alternative to gas heating for our old, draughty Victorian/Edwardian houses in cold, windy Britain.
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LibraryThing member jgoodwll
Collection of short speeches. Moving.
LibraryThing member DonnaMarieMerritt
It's unthinkable that our children have to be the voices that get us to take notice of climate change and the CRISIS that it is. These speeches of Greta Thunberg's shout at us to listen—and for good reason.
LibraryThing member thenumeraltwo
Collection of essays from the impressive teenager. Leaves you feeling the planet is ****ed.
LibraryThing member atreic
This is a book collating all of Greta Thunberg's speeches. This makes it a) quite depressing, as her speeches are 'if we don't all start panicking, the world is doomed because of climate change' and b) quite repetitive, as pretty much all her speeches are 'if we don't all start panicking, the world
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is doomed because of climate change', often with the same paragraphs lifted and dropped from earlier speeches.

But it's powerful rhetoric, and probably a good wake up call. I read half of it, and was feeling very worried and Something Must Be Done, and then put it down for a couple of months. Then I found it when tidying up because there was nothing else to do because of the COVID pandemic, which makes it harder to worry about climate change right now...
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LibraryThing member RavenNight
I want to start this review by saying that my opinion of this book has nothing to do with my agreement or disagreement with the issues discussed. While I am all for protecting our environment and making the changes necessary, this belief did not make me like this little paperback collection of
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speeches. It also does not reflect my opinions on Greta herself.

My first issue with this book was the complete lack of sources. I realize that this is a collection of speeches, however, they are of a scientific nature and are being published as a book... in print. I think that with the publishing of the speeches as a book, citations needed to be added. Without them, it is hard to view things as credible facts. Even as speeches, anything presented as a fact really should come with a reference to where it was found. Her more recent speeches are better about this, as she often says where the information is from before she states a number. However, her earlier speeches are severely lacking in source material. This book is being marketed as non-fiction and science. As such, I was shocked by the lack of sources.

A few examples:
"...a number of leading climate scientists wrote that we have at most three years to reverse growth in greenhouse gases..." Who are these scientists? Where did this information come from? To not be 100% specific in a speech is one thing, but the sourcing should have been considered when making a book.
"If people knew that the scientists say that we have a 5 percent chance..." Again, which scientists? It is hard for me to believe information to be credible when a very specific number is thrown out with a vague reference to an unspecified group of scientists.

And these two examples are just on the first page. There are many facts thrown out with no real source. This may not bother some people, as it is a collection of speeches. But to me, it makes sense that someone who decides to publish a collection of their speeches (ones that are marketed as non fiction and science, and have numbers and facts loaded into them, I mean) and distribute it as a book would add sources to said book. Why did I have to search the data being presented as fact and
do a LOT of fact-checking while reading a book that is being marketed as nonfiction?

Another glaring issue with this is how hypocritical some of it is. She condemns activists who travel great distances because they are using valuable resources to travel. However, in a later speech, she lists off all of the different forms of traveling she has to do. To me, this seems hypocritical. Why condemn others for the thing you do?

"Wherever I Go I Seem to Be Surrounded By Fairy Tales" is one of the last speeches included in this book and it left me a little confused. On page 89, she states "...a 50 per cent chance of staying below a 1.5 degree C global temperature rise." However, page 92 (same speech) says "...to have a 67 per cent chance of staying below a 1.5 degree C global temperature rise.... Which is it? She gives the same date: 1 January 2018. She also gives the same amount of CO2 emissions left: 420 gigatonnes. So which percentage is it? This difference in numbers within the same speech, without any source listed, makes it hard to find the information credible.

As excited as I was to read this, and as much as I wanted to love it, it just didn't rub me the right way.
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LibraryThing member arewenotben
Not sure this short, somewhat repetitive book is the best way to consume her rhetoric but it doesn't stop Thunberg being an absolute badass. At its best when she's being extremely rude to her condescending elite hosts in rarified surroundings.
LibraryThing member ASKelmore
Best for:
Those who like to collect books of speeches.

In a nutshell:
Collection of Thunberg’s speeches, delivered throughout 2018 and 2019

Worth quoting:
“You can’t simply make up your own facts, just because you don’t like what you hear.”
“Every time we make a decision we should ask
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ourselves: how will this decision affect that [emission] curve?”

Why I chose it:
I recently subscribed to the Books That Matter box, and this was included in November’s delivery.

Review:
How does one review a collection of speeches by a child? It seems … odd to do so. Instead, I want to talk about what I read in these speeches, and the overall issue of climate change and activism. However, I will say that these speeches are nearly identical in content, and are basically understandably angry and frustrated calls to action.

Action that isn’t happening.

Thunberg talks a lot about how she does not like hearing from adults and politicians that people like her give them hope. And she’s right - it’s absurd to look to children to fix things we as adults have broken, to look for them for hope, when there are people in power nodding along to her speeches who could actually, y’know, do something. At the same time, it’s really impressive how so many younger people aren’t waiting until they’re older to speak up about the things that matter to them.

And also … I’m old enough to be Thunberg’s mother, and I don’t have any more of a clue how to fix things, nor do I find myself in a position of power. Shit, I just voted in an election where 70 million people thought it’d be cool to keep a racist bigot sexual assaulting asshole in office, and where one elderly turtle can hold up economic assistance for 350 million people. How DOES someone make a difference in these systems?

Climate change is one of those issues where on an individual level there are obviously loads of things we can do (not eat meat, not consume dairy, not take flights, etc.), but corporations continue to produce the carbon on such a massive scale. There’s obviously a need for collective action - and Thunberg’s school strike has turned into something like that - but I also think it’s hard when what some people see as the biggest emergency of our life time is competing with other emergencies that might seem more immediate to a lot of people.

Like I said. Frustrating.

Keep it / Pass to a Friend / Donate it / Toss it:
Donate it
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LibraryThing member Sarah220
This is a collection of Ms. Thunberg's speeches over the last couple years. Good, thoughtful stuff that we need to know and at times powerfully phrased. However, because it is made up of several speeches delivered to different groups, many of the speeches repeat what she had already said (what I
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already read). Watching one YouTube video of her speaking might have been just as or more rewarding.
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LibraryThing member bibliothecarivs
I agree with Greta, and her direct and factual style can easily pierce one's heart, but this small collection of her speeches was published too early in her career. Read one of her speeches and you've read them all. Also, maybe it's just the librarian in me but endnotes with citations would help
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bolster her claims in print.
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LibraryThing member MissBrangwen
This very slim volume contains eleven speeches held by Greta Thunberg between September 2018 and April 2019. There is an extended version available that contains more speeches from 2019, but this is the first version.
While I agree with most of Thunberg's positions, I am still a bit disappointed
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with the book. As many other reviewers have noted, the speeches are very repetitive. Most of them are so alike that it's hard to distinguish them, sometimes whole sentences and even paragraphs are copied, and the arguments made are repeated again and again.
Of course, this is because these are Thunberg's main points, and as said above, I mostly agree with them. I just don't think that this merits a book. If you watch a few of the speeches online, or even just read a few online posts, you will get the same amount of information.
On the other hand, Thunberg's message is of the uttermost importance and while the language of the speeches is very simple (and thus, after several of them, gets a bit uniform), this serves the purpose of getting that message across in a poignant way. I also learned from the book that equity is relevant to Thunberg, too, which is something I didn't know before (I thought that this aspect wasn't really cared about by the Fridays For Future activists, which had put me off a little).
All in all, this was a quick read and I absolutely don't criticize Greta Thunberg as an activist, but I still think there must be other books that teach the reader more about the topic.
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LibraryThing member DarthDeverell
Greta Thunberg’s No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference collects her various speeches in a single volume for those looking to learn from her example in tackling the challenge of climate change, the greatest threat to humanity’s future. Thunberg was initially inspired by the activism of the
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Parkland students (pg. 46), though she now represents one facet of a global movement. In a 2018 speech in Stockholm, Thunberg said, “If people knew that the scientists say that we have a 5 per cent chance of meeting the Paris target, and if people knew what a nightmare scenario we will face if we don’t keep global warming below 2ºC, they wouldn’t need to ask me why I’m on school strike outside parliament” (pgs. 9-10). She challenged wealthy nations and businesses in her speech at COP 24 in 2018, saying, “We are about to sacrifice our civilization for the opportunity of a very small number of people to continue to make enormous amounts of money” (pg. 29). Thunberg warned the European Parliament in 2019, “Everything and everyone has to change. But the bigger your platform, the bigger your responsibility. The bigger your carbon footprint, the bigger your moral duty” (pg. 73). Addressing the British Parliament in 2019, Thunberg said, “You lied to us. You gave us false hope. You told us that the future was something to look forward to. And the saddest thing is that most children are not even aware of the fate that awaits us. We will not understand until it’s too late. And yet we are the lucky ones. Those who will be affected the hardest are already suffering the consequences. But their voices are not heard” (pg. 82). Speaking to the Austrian World Summit in 2019, she said, “The longer we wait the harder it will be to turn this around” (pg. 100). Thunberg addressed the French National Assembly in 2019, saying, “Now political leaders in some countries are starting to talk. They are starting to declare climate emergencies and announcing dates for so-called ‘climate neutrality’. And declaring a climate emergency is good. But only setting up these vague distant dates, and saying things which give the impression that things are being done and that action is under way will most likely do more harm than good. …The climate and ecological emergency is right here, right now. But it has only just begun. It will get worse” (pg. 109). No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference is a great collection of Thunberg’s speeches, particularly useful for students looking to study her work and movement. It is a must-read in particular for any world leaders who genuinely want to make a difference, but Thunberg herself addresses the skepticism people feel about those who have had the power to act these last thirty years.
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LibraryThing member murderbydeath
Greta Thunberg is the bomb.

I first heard about Greta when she began school striking last year, but only, at first, as a curiosity (on the part of the press). It wasn't until her speech before the UK parliament that she got enough press that I was able to understand her story. When I read the
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speech in the Guardian, I was laughing - in the best way - at the sheer audacity, bravery, and brilliance, of a 16 year old standing before the august (HA!) body of British lawmakers and telling them that:

The UK is, however, very special. Not only for its mind-blowing historical carbon debt, but also for its current, very creative, carbon accounting.

and:

This ongoing irresponsible behaviour will no doubt be remembered in history as one of the greatest failures of mankind.

and my favorite:

Did you just hear what I said? Is my English okay? Is the microphone on? Because I'm beginning to wonder.

I handed the speech to MT and said You HAVE TO read this. It's written by a 16 year old Swedish girl whose first language isn't even English! (We who have lived our lives isolated on single language land masses - and yes, yes, Spanish, but it wasn't widespread when I was a kid - are always in awe of those of you who juggle multiple languages with ease, never mind speak it better than us natives.) I've been a following her in the news ever since and I just admire the hell out of her. I found this little collection of all her speeches up to and including her UK Parliament speech, on the bookstore counter, and snapped it up.

It's nothing fancy; just a small booklet containing all 11 of her speeches through 23 April 2019, and if read cover to cover (which I don't recommend), it's repetitive. But the message is powerful, and like it or not, it's dead-on accurate: our house is on fire; what we would never do to our own lawn, we're doing with impunity to the rest of the planet, and we're collectively living like a magic, 23rd-hour solution that will make everything ok again is going to miraculously fly out our asses.

Greta is making waves because she's 16 and she's the only one willing to stand in front of entire governments and actually say, with only a tiny bit more tact: you're all idiots and you're the generation that will always be known as those idiots who destroyed civilisation as we know it.

On a more first-world-problem note: this wonderful 16 year old was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize and even though she didn't win (and should have), I am still thankful I'm not a teen today. Life is hard enough as an adolescent, but now teens are nominated for Nobels; getting into Yale or Oxford suddenly isn't the acme of teen achievement any more. Yikes.
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LibraryThing member Iudita
It was interesting and informative to read Greta's speeches, but putting them all together in a book was problematic because there is a huge amount of repetition.

Awards

Books Are My Bag Readers Award (Shortlist — Non-Fiction — 2019)
Waterstones Book of the Year (Shortlist — 2019)

Original publication date

2019-05-30
2019-11-21 (expanded version)

Pages

80

ISBN

0141991747 / 9780141991740
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