Young people making climate change ‘hot topic’, Greta Thunberg tells Davos elite

Greta Thunberg
The Canary

Greta Thunberg was among four young climate activists to challenge the elites gathered at the World Economic Forum for not doing enough to deal with the climate emergency and warned them that time was running out.

At a panel in the Swiss ski resort of Davos, the four said they hoped their generation had found its voice and can work with those in power to bring about the necessary change to limit climate change.

Yet Thunberg said not enough has been done.

“We need to start listening to the science, and treat this crisis with the importance it deserves,” said the 17-year-old, just as US president Donald Trump was arriving in Davos and was due to give a speech.

Trump has pulled the US out of the Paris accord to limit climate change and has traded barbs with Thunberg on social media.

“Without treating it as a real crisis we cannot solve it,” Thunberg said.

The Swedish teenager came to fame by staging a regular strike at her school, sparking a global movement that eventually earned her Time Magazine’s award as the 2019 Person of the Year.

She said that people are more aware about climate issues now.

The campaigner said: “It feels like the climate and environment is a hot topic now, thanks to young people pushing.”

Switzerland Davis Forum
Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg (Markus Schreiber/AP)

The others on the panel were just as forceful and passionate about the effects of global warming and how they, as young people, need to play a central role in raising awareness and insist on change.

“The older generation has a lot of experience, but we have ideas, we have energy, and we have solutions,” said Natasha Wang Mwansa, an 18-year-old activist from Zambia who campaigns for girls’ and women’s rights.

Salvador Gomez-Colon, who raised funds and awareness after Hurricane Maria devastated his native Puerto Rico in 2017, said young activists are doing more than just talking.

“We’re not waiting five, 10, 20 years to take the action we want to see.

“We’re not the future of the world, we’re the present, we’re acting now. We’re not waiting any longer.”

Thunberg said the time for action was now, that being at the top of the agenda meant nothing if the world doesn’t get to grips with the climate emergency.

“I am not the person who can complain about not being heard. I’m being heard all the time,” she quipped.

“But in general the science and the voice of young people is not in the centre of the conversation.”

Autumn Peltier, the chief water commissioner for the Anishinabek Nation of indigenous people in Canada, said plaudits are not what they are looking for at the World Economic Forum.

“I don’t want your awards. If you are going to award me, award me with helping to find solutions and helping to make change.”

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  • Show Comments
    1. If Greta is speaking at Davos she serves the elite. Only guests or servants get invited to speak at Davos, not their opponents. I’m thinking industry will make a few token efforts such as putting filters on smokestacks and waste pipes, then get Greta to tell us industry’s done its bit so all pollution thereafter is domestic.

      1. You make quite an unqualified claim there, we’ll see if you are right, or whether Greta Thunberg tells Industry they haven’t done anywhere near enough, even if they do ‘pander’ to her (which I seriously doubt they will anyway). She doesn’t strike me as being soft in the head at all, and I am sure that she is using Davos as much as they think they are using her.

        To say nothing, to not stand up and be heard … now that’s definitely not the recipe to get anything sorted, and at least she is making us adults aware that children are aware their world is being screwed over by stupid, arrogant adults …. and you really can’t get more stupid than cutting off our own air, water, and food. We provably need those things just to exist, however there is a whole world more of things that we don’t need to exist, but that we as adults put far more effort into maintaining at great cost to our Life-support systems.

        People are treating Greta Thunberg like she is an entitled little brat, rather than the lesson we all need to learn and wake up to. It’s like we are on a ship that is sinking because the majority on board keep punching holes in the hull for no other reason than they can, whilst attacking and vilifying the small number of crew members who try to tell the rest that their actions are why they are sinking.

        Even if it turns out Greta and others are wrong, we still need to change our habits, and to stop treating this world like it has unlimited resources, and like we are gods, which we are not.

        Agent Smith in The Matrix got it right when he classed humanity as a virus, but then isn’t it strange that no-one got on their high-horse about that line in the movie, but Greta gets all kinds of unwarranted shit thrown at her just because she is a child who doesn’t want to drown in the ship the rest of humanity keeps punching holes into?

        I don’t know for a fact if your assessment of Greta Thunberg is right, or if indeed your predictions will come true. However, if it turns out that it didn’t go the way you predicted, will you be able to admit that you were wrong about her? You won’t be wrong about industry however, many of us have already witnessed their attitude, and we ‘The Public’ are already being beaten with the ‘Domestic Pollution’ Stick.

        Warfare is also extremely damaging to the environment, yet the environmental costs of warfare are NEVER enough to stop them, because too many are far too pre-occupied with the desire for war, the practice of war, and the profits of war. In fact any excuse is acceptable so long as it is FOR war, just look at how quick politicians are to vilify any MP who opposes war, even when those who do have the backing of hundreds of thousands, even millions, stand up against war (Iraq being the most notable historical example in living memory).

        Greta Thunburg might look like she is serving the elite, but then you heard her, I heard her, so that must make us part of the elite too, or it makes us the people she is trying to reach with her message, which at present doesn’t include pandering to industry. When or if she does pander to them, then I will accept that you were right, but I will still say that we need to change our habits, because if it (The Climate) really isn’t a problem now, it won’t be that long before it really is, given that most treat the Earth as an inexhaustible larder, that can absorb anything we throw at it and each other.

        I hope you are wrong with your assessment of Greta, but if not, I am prepared to admit I was wrong, but only when it has been proven so, until then it is wrong to make assumptions about her when it is already clear that she and a lot of children are frightened of the future because of ADULTS telling them the World is fucked. In this sense, adults are behaving far worse than children, because it is we who teach our children to be afraid, it is we who teach our children to stand up for themselves, and it is we who teach our children (on the whole) to care about themselves and the world they live in.

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