15-year-old activist shames our ‘adult’ politicians over climate chaos, right in front of the UN

Greta Thunberg speaking at the UN plenary
John McEvoy

One of the “most influential teens of 2018”, Greta Thunberg, addressed the UN for the second time to shame political leaders on climate policy this week.

“Behaving like children”

Since Thunberg first walked out of her school in Sweden to protest climate breakdown over four months ago, students across the globe have been following suit.

And as the UN climate conference drew to a close this week, Thunberg travelled from Sweden to Poland by electric car to make a powerful speech:

World leaders are “behaving like children”, she previously claimed. And in the speech above, she insisted:

You only speak of green eternal economic growth because you are too scared of being unpopular… You are not mature enough to tell it like it is. Even that burden, you leave to us children.

Thunberg thus nailed a crucial yet rarely mentioned environmental truth: the economic necessities of consumer capitalism are simply incompatible with solving our climate crisis. She continued with a killer punch:

If solutions within this system are so impossible to find, then maybe we should change the system itself.

And in an all-round moving speech, this quote stands out:

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, yet you are stealing their future in front of their very eyes.

Global praise

Thunberg’s activism has received global support and praise:

And according to author and environmentalist Bill McKibben, Thunberg has “set something big in motion”:

Renowned author and activist Naomi Klein also showed her support:

“Stealing their future”

The true thieves of our children’s future revealed themselves at the summit, with the US joining Russia, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia in blocking endorsement of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s landmark climate report. The US state department said:

The United States was willing to note the report… but not welcome it, as that would denote endorsement of the report.

According to Alden Mayer of the Union of Concerned Scientists:

The fact that a group of four countries were trying to diminish the value and importance of a scientific report themselves, with all other countries, requested three years ago in Paris is pretty remarkable.

“We have run out of excuses, and we are running out of time,” Thunberg told the UN. She’s right: young people must reclaim the future that is being stolen from them. And we must all stand alongside them in that struggle.

Featured image via screengrab

Get involved

  • Support the organisation that Thunberg represents, Climate Action Now.
  • Read more of The Canary‘s coverage of climate breakdown.

We need your help ...

The coronavirus pandemic is changing our world, fast. And we will do all we can to keep bringing you news and analysis throughout. But we are worried about maintaining enough income to pay our staff and minimal overheads.

Now, more than ever, we need a vibrant, independent media that holds the government to account and calls it out when it puts vested economic interests above human lives. We need a media that shows solidarity with the people most affected by the crisis – and one that can help to build a world based on collaboration and compassion.

We have been fighting against an establishment that is trying to shut us down. And like most independent media, we don’t have the deep pockets of investors to call on to bail us out.

Can you help by chipping in a few pounds each month?

The Canary Support us