Greta Thunberg’s “how dare you?” ripped into the heart of the millions around the world, and will remain a symbol of the disappointment and anger of the youth today.
The teenage climate-change activist addressed the opening session of the United Nations Climate Actions Summit 2019, pointing out disapproval at the failure of world leaders to take genuine measures to fight climate change.
Greta spoke how furious her generation is at the past generations which have destroyed their future, constantly ignoring the reality.
The 16-year-old girl arrived in the United States late last month after traveling across the Atlantic Ocean by sailboat to attend the climate summit. The trek took her two weeks, but it was an emission-free way for her to travel from Europe to the United States.
Greta started with an ominous “we will be watching you”, which portended the scathing attack which was to follow. The speech was days after hundreds of thousands of youth took to the streets to demand immediate action on climate change.
Greta Thunberg at U.N.: “You are still not mature enough to tell it like it is. You are failing us. Young people are starting to understand your betrayal. The eyes of all future generations are upon you.” https://t.co/5ZPcsQ1Bbr pic.twitter.com/58gwYMqBQV
— CBS News (@CBSNews) September 23, 2019
Afterward, the world leaders gathered at the UN to jump-start efforts to reduce carbon emissions.
Greta emphasized the sufferings and death the collapsing ecosystem results in, and old the world that everyone who could make a change just kept selling false dreams of perpetual prosperity which comes only to the privileged few.
The girl struggled to hold back tears as she asked: “how dare you continue to look away and come here saying that you’re doing enough when the politics and solutions needed are still nowhere in sight.”
Greta plunged into the climate change movement about a year ago. She alone protested by standing in front of the Swedish Parliament holding a sign saying “school strikes for the climate” and began skipping school one day every week.
This strange form of protest was soon accepted by numerous youngsters around the world, and this week, millions of youths heeded to her call.
Her speech was extremely powerful as she represented the “voice” of our planet. The brave girl said that the science has been crystal clear for more than three decades, and leaders kept looking away, saying they are doing enough, while the politics and solutions needed are still nowhere in sight.
She explained that this problem cannot be solved with business-as-usual and some technical solutions, as with today’s emissions levels, our remaining CO2 budget will be gone in less than 8.5 years.
She bitterly pointed out that the stringent cuts in emission being touted would just give a chance of 50% to limit future warming within the global goal of a further 0.4° from the current levels.
She argues that this popular idea only yields a 50 percent chance of keeping the earth’s warming trend below the 1.5 degree Celsius threshold, which could set off “catastrophic chain reactions beyond human control” if breached.
She said that a 50 percent risk is simply not acceptable to the new generation, which would have to live with the consequences.
Thunberg slammed the members of the U.N. for caring more about money and “fairytales of eternal economic growth” than collapsing ecosystems, mass extinctions and people suffering as a result of climate change.
Therefore, she urged the world to not let the leaders get away with it, and accused them of stealing her dreams. However, she injected a conciliatory note when she added that they perhaps have failed to realize the urgency of the situation.
Environmentalists are understandably alarmed, as warming trends have exceeded existing scientific models to an extreme level, and recently, scientists have shown that since 1970, the oceans are warming at a 40% faster rate than predicted.
Additionally, the UN has revealed that global emission is showing no signs of slowing down and the last few years were the warmest in history.
Therefore, it seems that today’s youth have realized the seriousness of the circumstances. After her speech, Thunberg’s name began trending on Twitter, with multiple prominent figures and celebrities supporting and praising her passion for the environment.
Greta always tends to be direct and concise, and even brutal when pointing the finger of blame at politicians. Her message was heard, and it inspired her peers, while it was uncomfortable for her chief target: governments and politicians.
She readily admits that her approach is probably linked to her Asperger’s syndrome; so she speaks in black-and-white and only when she believes she has something to say.
Thunberg told world leaders that they have failed young people and they are now understanding their betrayal. She added:
“The eyes of all future generations are upon you and if you choose to fail us, I say we will never forgive you.”
In the end, she added that at this point, the youth is drawing the line, and the world is waking up, so change is on its way.
She has been named a winner of the 2019 Right Livelihood Award, which is known as the “alternative Nobel Prize.” The foundation stated that Thunberg won the award “for inspiring and amplifying political demands for urgent climate action reflecting scientific facts.”
She is also among the 301 candidates nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. The winner will be announced in the first week of October.
Politicians are slow to act in the face of mass extinction of species and ecosystems and rapid heating of the globe, caused by human activity. Yet, hopefully, if we take steps as urgent as possible, we might be able to help our planet recover from the damage we have caused.