Greta Thunberg gave an impassioned speech full of outrage and truth
Speaking at the Climate Action Summit in New York today, Greta Thunberg, the young climate activist who has inspired a generation, was asked what message she had for world leaders on climate change. No one was quite ready for the response she gave because it was intense, emotional, and utterly heartbreaking.
“This is all wrong. I shouldn’t be up here,” she began before quickly turning emotional. “I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you? You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words and yet, I am one of the lucky ones. People are suffering.”
Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg at #UNGA: "This is all wrong…You all come to us young people for hope. How dare you! You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words—and yet, I'm one of the lucky ones." https://t.co/YTVSvKxTkg pic.twitter.com/px90HghuQd
— ABC News (@ABC) September 23, 2019
While it’s almost hard to watch because it’s just so real, Thunberg really hits the nail on the head. She’s so impassioned and straight-forward with her words. Watching the clip makes you wonder why we all aren’t talking about climate change with this kind of desperation. Because shouldn’t we be? It feels like Thunberg, who is only 16 years old, is one of the few voices making any sense on the issue.
“People are dying,” she pressed on. “Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you?”
“You say you hear us and that you understand the urgency. But no matter how sad and angry I am, I do not want to believe that. Because if you really understood the situation and still kept on failing to act, then you would be evil. And that I refuse to believe,” Thunberg said.
They are such strong words from the young girl but they did not appear to fall flat. She was met with cheers from the audience as she voiced her feelings. But they weren’t only her feelings. Thunberg came equipped with the facts and she laid those out, as well, citing scientific studies and warnings about greenhouse gases. She also criticized politicians for failing to put plans in place to combat the issues.
Thunberg has already done so much to urge world leaders, as well as the greater public, to care about climate change. She has started a movement inspiring young people to protest. She has also filed a lawsuit with 15 other kids against five countries that are major carbon polluters, spoken at events and on late night talk shows, and rallied the world together for a Climate Strike. She was even nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.
It’s truly incredible to see what just one person, even a young teenager, with a passion can do. And Thunberg is anything but passionless. “We’ll be watching you,” she told world leaders. And you better believe Greta means what she says.
“You are failing us, but young people are starting to understand your betrayal. The eyes of all future generations are upon you. And if you choose to fail us, I say: We will never forgive you,” she said. “We will not let you get away with this. Right here, right now is where we draw the line.”
Thunberg ended her speech by saying, “The world is waking up. And change is coming, whether you like it or not.”
It’s clear that Thunberg has a lot more work she wants to do. But right now, here’s hoping that what she sees from the rest of the world is action that’s long overdue.
Here is the full video of the morning session of the Climate Action Summit.