Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg does not mince words, and justifiably so. In her latest speech at the UN Climate Action Summit in New York, she lashed out at the world’s most powerful people. Here is what she had to say. By Bayar Jain
“We are in the middle of a climate breakdown, and all they can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!”
These are the words of Greta Thunberg, a Swedish climate activist. Speaking during the United Nations (UN) Climate Action Summit in New York, this TIME magazine’s “next generation leader” appeared visibly frustrated with her audience which comprised of world leaders. Amid tears of anger, she lashed out with the words, “if world leaders choose to fail us, my generation will never forgive them.” Greta Thurnberg is only 16.
Thunberg’s message to the leaders was clear. Like many times in the past, she accused them of not doing enough to mitigate climate change. “For more than 30 years, the science has been crystal clear. How dare you continue to look away?” She even went on to criticise leaders for their double standards, and how absurd it is that leaders praise young activists such as herself while failing to deliver to deliver on the drastic actions they formulate to avert climate crises. “This is all wrong”, she added.
Over the past year, she has become the face of a global movement of young people demanding action to safeguard their planet’s future. In 2018, she took time off from school to demonstrate outside the Swedish parliament. Since then, she has been going on strike every Friday to protest against inaction. She calls it #FridaysForFuture.
Earlier this year, millions of young people from around the world joined Thunberg in a climate strike. It is estimated that over 1.4 million students across 300 cities joined her in this strike.
A short while after Thunberg’s speech at UN, she, along with 15 other children, filed a complaint. They alleged that five of the world’s leading economies, namely Germany, France, Brazil, Argentina and Turkey have violated their human rights by not averting the crises. The petition further went on to say that the countries have failed to uphold their obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, a 30-year-old human rights treaty.
At the end of her speech, Thunberg’s message was simple. “The eyes of all future generations are upon you. And if you choose to fail us I say we will never forgive you. We will not let you get away with this. Right here, right now is where we draw the line. The world is waking up. And change is coming, whether you like it or not.”