Climate activist Greta Thunberg gave an impassioned tongue-lashing to politicians, business leaders and even climate activists when she delivered a heart wrenching speech to the UN Climate Action summit in New York about the human reality of our changing climate while the world’s leaders stand by and do nothing. Her message was clear "This is all wrong. I shouldn't be standing here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean," she said with tears in her eyes. " Yet, you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you? You have stolen my dreams in my childhood with your empty words. Yet, I, I'm one of the lucky ones. People are suffering. People are dying and 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?””
To get to the UN event, Thunberg sailed across the Atlantic on a zero-emissions boat to avoid the carbon emissions that would have come from flying.
For most of us Greta’s candour and firm resistance in the face of ecological breakdown is the breath of fresh air we so desperately need in order to give our world leaders a kick up the backside, they so deserve when it comes to climate change. She is right, "she shouldn't be up there" we should not be at this tipping point, our house is on fire, as a result of climate change and our Governments are failing to act fast enough. We should not forget that capitalism is the problem too, alongside the industrial military complex, these are the systems that continue to wreak havoc,and destroy our planet, but in the meantime we should thank Greta for being the lightning spark that so many of us had been waiting for.
Incredibly though Greta is facing a deluge of hate across the globe and is being portrayed by some, as a precocious schoolgirl with absolutely no idea what she’s talking about, and there are actually people jeering and mocking the warnings from a solitary 16-year-old girl who made a stand for what she believed in, attacking her character and wilfully misinterpreting her motivations
Greta Thunberg has been demanding that politicians act to prevent catastrophic climate change, that the scientists have been warning us for years about. We are facing droughts, floods and storms that are devastating communities across the world every day, and thousands of species are going extinct, while those in power are carrying on as normal.
Climate change is having a devastating effect on our seas and on the frozen ice caps of the world, a new report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warns.The more than 100 scientists who contributed to Wednesday's report made projections of rising sea levels, and assessed different scenarios based on different levels of warming.
Worryingly, there may reportedly be some impacts that we're no longer in a position to stop, such as the amount of sea level rise. The report, which makes grim reading, concluded that that the global ocean has now warmed without pause since 1970. Greta Thunberg has made it clear to world leaders that they can not ignore these facts any longer. No wonder students question whether there’s any point in carrying on learning. You can read the report in full here.
Greta marched into the public eye in August 2018 when she skipped school, aged 15, to protest climate change outside the Swedish parliament building. The sole person there, her parents warned her against going, her classmates declined her invitation to attend, but her skolstrejk för klimatet (school strike for climate) banner stood tall.
One year later, her homemade sign has been translated into dozens of languages and her protests have travelled across over 70 countries. She has just been named GQ’s ‘Game Changer of the Year’ but for some Greta's message makes them uncomfortable.
For those who hold the reins of power across the world, it must be hard to be told by a 16 year old that they have failed at their job. But that’s kind of her point. She wants them to be nervous. Greta told political leaders and billionaire entrepreneurs in Davos: ‘I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. And then I want you to act.’
As the clock ticks down on our time left to make a positive impact on the climate crisis, Greta has devoted her time and energy on educating our world leaders on why we need to act now, but smear campaigns have followed the teenager from the moment she stepped into the limelight fighting for her cause, and despite being accused of spreading panic and conspiracy theories about our planet, she continues to prove time and time again, that she’s actually more mature than many politicians and media outlets.
A 16 year old who doesn’t wear makeup or conform to any of the Instagram-worshipping, generation Z stereotypes that politicians love to belittle? No wonder they don’t know how to handle her power.
Beyond attacks on her mission to force a change for our environment, some journalists have taken it upon themselves to hit below the belt, with Andrew Bolt, a columnist for The Herald Sun, an Australian paper owned by climate denier business tycoon Rupert Murdoch, called her ‘deeply disturbed’ and commented on her ‘many mental disorders.’ The 16 year old has Asperger’s and has been very open in the past about her condition. In an interview with BBC journalist Nick Robinson, Thunberg said that "being different is a gift." If she didn't have Asperger's, Thunberg added, she wouldn't have become such a passionate climate activist. Thunberg has also tweeted about her condition, saying that having Asperger's is a "superpower."
Greta has delivered a clear action for the world leaders gathered at the United Nations to respond and we should keep standing up to her and all those that keep on speaking truth to power, those that are revolting and rebelling against being exploited and abused, against an economy which puts profit above people and planet, children like Greta shouting at us to hear their voices. They’ve been forced to become the adults because we’ve become the children. They are right and we are wrong. They are the future and we are the dead, broken, failed past.
Governments have a stark choice, to either come up with concrete action plans for large-scale CO2 reduction, or condemn Greta and future generations to more extreme heat, forest fires, drought and rising sea levels. While we hold our breath waiting for an answer from the politicians and corporations, what else can we do?
If you have three minutes and 40 seconds today, watch the video below. In it, Greta and journalist George Monbiot simply explain that – alongside stopping burning fossil fuels immediately – nature is a tool for fighting runaway climate change. Mangroves, peat bogs, jungles, marshes, swamps and coral reefs. They’re all perfectly designed to capture normal amounts of CO2 from the air.
Yet an area of forest the size of the UK is lost to deforestation each year. With the embers of the Amazon tragedy still hot, just when we need nature the most, we’re destroying it faster than ever.
In the video, they warn how the world spends 1000 times more on global fossil fuel subsidies than on natural based solutions. Just 2% of all money spent on tackling climate change goes on projects that protect, restore and use nature.
But the message Greta and George give ends hopefully. We can support campaigns to protect forests. We can plant trees to help ecosystems bounce back. And we can stop funding things that destroy nature on a massive scale.
Vote for people who defend nature. Join natural climate movements. Tell everyone you know. While Greta wakes our leaders up, let’s protect, restore and fund natural climate solutions, do not however support a system that fuels destruction, keep holding to account fossil fuel executives as they attempt to greenwash their records and push false solutions to the climate catastrophe,help nature do what it’s designed to do, and provide constant solidarity and support to the Youth of the Planet, and all those fighting to save the planet, who all play a fundamental role in shaping the better society that we currently can only dream about.