Days ahead of what they are calling a “global climate strike,” prominent youth activists including Greta Thunberg urged young people to join them on Friday in demanding world leaders take action to tackle the climate crisis.
“Time and time again, the leaders today show that they do not care about the future — at least it doesn’t seem like it,” Thunberg, 18, said in a video conference call from her home in Stockholm. “They say that they listen to us young people, but they are obviously not. They have proven that now again. And that’s why we will be back on the streets.”
The Sept. 24 event, organized by Thunberg’s Fridays for Future, hopes to incorporate thousands of climate rallies in cities around the world.
The goal, she said, is to show that the climate crisis has not waned during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“It has been a very strange year and a half because of the pandemic, but of course our climate crisis has not disappeared,” she said. “It’s even more urgent now than it was before.”
Thunberg cited a recent U.N. report projecting that by 2030, the world’s greenhouse gas emissions will have risen by 16 percent compared with 2010 levels.
She added: “We will still be back on the streets to show that we haven’t disappeared, that we are still demanding climate action and climate justice.”
“Democracy is not just on election day,” Thunberg said in a response to a question. “We can’t just vote for change, we also have to be active democratic citizens and go out on the streets and demand action.”
Her remarks come on the eve of the United Nations General Assembly meeting, which begins Tuesday in New York City, and ahead of the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland, in November.
Thunberg has become a renowned figure for her work in raising awareness about climate change through her weekly Fridays for Future rallies.
In 2019, when she was 16, she sailed from Europe to the United States on a zero-emission yacht and delivered an angry and impassioned speech at the U.N. climate summit in New York, denouncing world leaders for failing to do more to combat global warming.
“People are suffering,” she said then. “People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are at the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!”
By Dylan Stableford