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Greta Thunberg (born 3 January 2003) is a Swedish climate activist. In 2018, she initiated the School strike for climate movement and spoke at the United Nations Climate Change conference to denounce world leaders for their inaction.
- There are no emergency meetings, no headlines, no breaking news. No one is acting as if we were in a crisis. Even most climate scientists or green politicians keep on flying around the world, eating meat and dairy. … Today we use 100 million barrels of oil every single day. There are no politics to change that. There are no rules to keep that oil in the ground. So we can't save the world by playing by the rules. Because the rules have to be changed. Everything needs to change. And it has to start today.
- "School strike for climate - save the world by changing the rules", TEDxStockholm (24 November 2018).
- We have to understand the emergency of the situation. Our leadership has failed us. Young people must hold older generations accountable for the mess they have created. We need to get angry, and transform that anger into action.
- Twitter post, (23 December 2018)
- This target is not sufficient to protect the future for children growing up today. If the EU is to make its fair contribution to stay within the carbon budget for the 2C limit then it needs a minimum of 80 percent reduction by 2030, and that includes aviation and shipping... There is simply not enough time to wait for us to grow up and become the ones in charge.
- Unite behind the science, that is our demand. (Thunberg told a plenary session of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC).
- I often talk to people who say, ‘No, we have to be hopeful and to inspire each other, and we can’t tell [people] too many negative things’ . . . But, no — we have to tell it like it is. Because if there are no positive things to tell, then what should we do, should we spread false hope? We can’t do that, we have to tell the truth.
- Quoted in Greta Thunberg: ‘All my life I’ve been the invisible girl,' Leslie HookFinancial Times (22 February 2019)
- For way too long, the politicians and the people in power have gotten away with not doing anything to fight the climate crisis, but we will make sure that they will not get away with it any longer. We are striking because we have done our homework and they have not.
"You are stealing our future"
- You only talk about moving forward with the same bad ideas that got us into this mess, even when the only sensible thing to do is pull the emergency brake. You are not mature enough to tell it like it is. Even that burden you leave to us children...
- Our civilization is being sacrificed for the opportunity of a very small number of people to continue making enormous amounts of money... It is the sufferings of the many which pay for the luxuries of the few... You say you love your children above all else, and yet you are stealing their future in front of their very eyes...
- We cannot solve a crisis without treating it as a crisis...if solutions within the system are so impossible to find, then... we should change the system itself.
- We have not come here to beg world leaders to care...We have come here to let you know that change is coming, whether you like it or not. The real power belongs to the people...
"School Strike for Climate"
- Why should I be studying for a future that soon may be no more, when no one is doing anything to save that future? And what is the point of learning facts when the most important facts clearly means nothing to our society?
- Today we use 100 million barrels of oil every single day...There are no rules to keep that oil in the ground... the rules have to be changed.
- For 25 years, countless of people have stood in front of the United Nations Climate Change conference asking our nations’ leaders to stop the emissions. But clearly this has not worked, since the emissions just continue to rise. So I will not ask them anything. Instead, I will ask the people around the world to realize that our political leaders have failed us, because we are facing an existential threat and there is no time to continue down this road of madness.
World Economic Forum 2019
- Our house is on fire. I am here to say, our house is on fire. [...] I want you to act as you would in a crisis. I want you to act as if our house is on fire. Because it is.
- Greta Thunberg, 16, urges leaders to act on climate (25 January 2019)
- Some people say that the climate crisis is something that we all have created, but that is not true, because if everyone is guilty then no one is to blame. And someone is to blame. Some people, some companies, some decision-makers in particular, have known exactly what priceless values they have been sacrificing to continue making unimaginable amounts of money. And I think many of you here today belong to that group of people.
- Teen activist tells Davos elite they're to blame for climate crisis (25 January 2019)
- I think it is insane that people are gathered here to talk about the climate and they arrive here in private jets.
Quotes about Thunberg
- In recent days, she has sharply rejected criticism of the strikes from educational authorities, telling the Hong Kong Education Bureau: “We fight for our future. It doesn’t help if we have to fight the adults too.” She also told a critical Australian state education minister his words “belong in a museum”.
- The students striking from schools around the world to demand action on climate change have issued an uncompromising open letter stating: “We are going to change the fate of humanity, whether you like it or not.” The letter, published by the Guardian, says: “United we will rise on 15 March and many times after until we see climate justice... Thunberg, now 16 years old and who began the strikes with a solo protest beginning last August... was one of about 3,000 student demonstrators in Antwerp, Belgium on Thursday, and joined protesters in Hamburg on Friday morning...
- Keeping track of the fast growing number of strikes is difficult, but many are registering on FridaysForFuture.org. So far, there are almost 500 events listed to take place on 15 March across 51 countries, making it the biggest strike day so far. Students plan to skip school across Western Europe, from the US to Brazil and Chile, and from Australia to Iran, India and Japan.
- Over the past six months, she has become a superstar of the climate change movement. Her school strike, which started out with her sitting alone on a camping mat next to parliament, was swiftly highlighted by the media...She speaks softly, often simply nodding when addressed... she only speaks when necessary.
- She says her dad often asks her to tone down her speeches, which she writes herself. “He becomes scared when he reads it, he is like, you shouldn’t say this, it is too provocative,” she says...
- Leslie Hook Greta Thunberg: ‘All my life I’ve been the invisible girl,’ Financial Times (22 February 2019)
- Sixteen-year-old climate action leader Greta Thunberg stood alongside European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker Thursday in Brussels as he indicated—after weeks of climate strikes around the world inspired by the Swedish teenager—that the European Union has heard the demands of young people and pledged more than $1 trillion over the next seven years to address the crisis of a rapidly heating planet.
- "We must hold the older generations accountable for the mess they have created. ... and say to them you cannot continue risking our future like this." Teen climate activist Greta Thunberg calls on young people to use their anger as activism.
- CNN Tweet (24 December 2018)
- As government ministers from around the globe gather in Katowice, Poland, for the final days of the 24th U.N. climate summit, we speak with 15-year-old activist Greta Thunberg, who denounced politicians here last week for their inaction on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. She has garnered global attention for carrying out a weekly school strike against climate change in her home country of Sweden.
- Thurnberg has an uncanny ability to concentrate... “I can do the same thing for hours,” she said....She began researching climate change and has stayed on the topic for six years. She has stopped eating meat and buying anything that is not absolutely necessary. In 2015, she stopped flying on airplanes, and a year later, her mother followed suit, giving up an international performing career. The family has installed solar batteries and has started growing their own vegetables on an allotment outside the city. To meet me in central Stockholm, Thunberg and her father rode their bikes for about half an hour; the family has an electric car that they use only when necessary.
- Masha Gessen, "The Fifteen-Year-Old Climate Activist Who Is Demanding a New Kind of Politics", The New Yorker, (2 October 2018)