“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!” said 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, in a strong message to world leaders at the United Nations Climate Summit.
Greta, who is taking a year off from her studies to actively fight against climate change, said that world leaders are betraying the younger generation by failing to tackle climate change and the effects of greenhouse gas emissions.
“This is all wrong. I shouldn’t be up here. I should be back at school on the other side of the ocean,” she said. “You come to us young people for hope. How dare you? You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words, yet I’m one of the lucky ones. People are suffering, people are dying, entire ecosystems are collapsing.”
She added that in her talks with leaders, she had been told that the youth were being heard and the urgency was understood. “But no matter how sad and angry I am, I do not want to believe that,” she said, “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.”
Greta, who often appears uncomfortable in the limelight and is seen as a reluctant leader, then detailed the various targets that were being missed, heightening the risk of “irreversible chain reactions beyond human control.”
She also took aim at the summit called by secretary-general Antonio Guterres to ask countries to expand their commitments. “There will not be any solutions or plans presented in line with these figures here today because these numbers are too uncomfortable, and you are still not mature enough to tell it like it is,” she went on. “You are failing us. But the 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!”
Greta kicked-off the world wide #ClimateStrike in New York on Sept. 20, where students from different parts of the globe rallied to call the attention of world leaders to take immediate action about climate change. On Sept. 27 another movement is set place as a follow-up to #ClimateStrike. AFP