Yesterday at the United Nations Climate Action Summit, sixteen-year-old Swedish climate activist, Greta Thunberg, successfully convinced 65 countires to change their emmissions efforts by warning world leaders “that change is coming, whether [they] like it or not”.
To begin her speech, Thunberg is asked what her message to world leaders is and, almost immediately, Thunberg bursts out that “we will be watching you”.
The “we” she refers to is the younger generation “who have to live with the consequences” of the apparent lack of urgency to solve the climate change issue.
The message continues and Thunberg only gets angrier, projecting her need for change by shaming those who have the power to do something and aren’t. Most of this anger is fueled by the fact that she is a child and has to be speaking to adults about the importance of the issue.
“You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. And yet, I’m onre of the lucky ones. People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!”
And, although she is warning world leaders of the disappointment her generation feels towards them, she is also warning them of the realization her own generation is having.
“The young people are starting to understand your betrayal. The eyes of all future generations are upon you. And if you choose to fail us, I say: We will never forgive you.”
At the end of the day, Thunberg’s urgency of the climate change issue got through to 65 countries, announcing efforts to achieve net-zero emissions by the year 2050.