Greta Thunberg is 15 years old student from Sweden. She doesn’t look like what you would expect a powerful and influential change-maker to look like. But that’s why we should never judge by appearance, because on Saturday night she gave some of our worlds leaders a right good talking to, putting many of them to shame.
Speaking at the United Nations climate summit in Poland, Greta said “You are not mature enough to tell it like is, even that burden you leave to us children. But I don’t care about being popular. I care about climate justice and the living planet.”
As a result of Greta’s work and others leading the charge against climate change, 200 nations agreed to a set of rules that will govern the Paris Agreement on climate change, which aims to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius over pre-Industrial levels. Even the negotiators know they’re not doing nearly enough to reach that goal and avoid disastrous effects of climate chance, which include the end of coral reefs, rising seas, stronger superstorms and deadlier heatwaves.
Greta and the other young voices which spoke at the event were hailed as being the most impact full as their voices were honest, because they have no time for political spin or “towing the party line”.
Greta herself has been an activist for quite a while. She started walking out of school on Fridays to demand that adults take action. Whilst she initially did it alone, slowly others started to join her and soon thousands of students were following her lead all across Sweden.
You can watch Greta’s amazing speech here, or read it in full below:
My name is Greta Thunberg. I am 15 years old. I am from Sweden.
I speak on behalf of Climate Justice Now.
Many people say that Sweden is just a small country and it doesn’t matter what we do.
But I’ve learned you are never too small to make a difference.
And if a few children can get headlines all over the world just by not going to school, then imagine what we could all do together if we really wanted to. But to do that, we have to speak clearly, no matter how uncomfortable that may be.
You only speak of green eternal economic growth because you are too scared of being unpopular. You only talk about moving forward with the same bad ideas that got us into this mess, even when the only sensible thing to do is pull the emergency brake.
You are not mature enough to tell it like is. Even that burden you leave to us children. But I don’t care about being popular. I care about climate justice and the living planet.
Our civilization is being sacrificed for the opportunity of a very small number of people to continue making enormous amounts of money.
Our biosphere is being sacrificed so that rich people in countries like mine can live in luxury. It is the sufferings of the many which pay for the luxuries of the few.
The year 2078, I will celebrate my 75th birthday. If I have children maybe they will spend that day with me. Maybe they will ask me about you. Maybe they will ask why you didn’t do anything while there still was time to act.
You say you love your children above all else, and yet you are stealing their future in front of their very eyes.
Until you start focusing on what needs to be done rather than what is politically possible, there is no hope. We cannot solve a crisis without treating it as a crisis.
We need to keep the fossil fuels in the ground, and we need to focus on equity. And if solutions within the system are so impossible to find, maybe we should change the system itself.
We have not come here to beg world leaders to care. You have ignored us in the past and you will ignore us again.
We have run out of excuses and we are running out of time.
We have come here to let you know that change is coming, whether you like it or not. The real power belongs to the people.