Culture

You Have To Read This Extraordinary Speech By 16-Year-Old Climate Activist Greta Thunberg

"Did you hear what I just said? Is my English OK? Is the microphone on? Because I’m beginning to wonder."

Greta Thunberg nominated for Nobel Prize for School Strike for Climate

16-year-old Greta Thunberg has spent the last few years doing more for climate activism than most international political leaders — on either side of the political spectrum.

Thunberg, who began her career as an activist by conducting a solo, silent protest on the steps of the Swedish parliament, has taken her message on the road, delivering scorching rebukes to the politicians who have sought to exploit her energy for a photo op. It is clear — Thunberg is not interested in platitudes. She will settle for nothing less than radical, immediate political change.

That refusal to settle for anything less than a climate revolution has been clearly and vividly expressed in a speech that Thunberg has delivered to the British parliament. In the country in order to participate in a series of marches, and to raise awareness for the climate cause, the 16-year-old met with British leaders, and took them to task.

“I was fortunate to be born in a time and place where everyone told us to dream big; I could become whatever I wanted to,” Thunberg said, as The Guardian are reporting. “I could live wherever I wanted to. People like me had everything we needed and more. Things our grandparents could not even dream of. We had everything we could ever wish for and yet now we may have nothing.

“Now we probably don’t even have a future any more. Because that future was sold so that a small number of people could make unimaginable amounts of money. It was stolen from us every time you said that the sky was the limit, and that you only live once.”

Later, Thunberg implored the assembled politicians to take real change — to pay heed to the ‘curve’ of carbon emmissions.

“The climate crisis is both the easiest and the hardest issue we have ever faced,” she said. The easiest because we know what we must do. We must stop the emissions of greenhouse gases. The hardest because our current economics are still totally dependent on burning fossil fuels, and thereby destroying ecosystems in order to create everlasting economic growth.”

Throughout, she made sure she was being heard by the politicians.

“Did you hear what I just said?” she asked at one point. “Is my English OK? Is the microphone on? Because I’m beginning to wonder.”

The speech is available to be read in full over on The Guardian — and it absolutely should be.