Greta Thunberg sparked the school strikes for the climate when she decided to do a strike on her own outside the Swedish Parliament. She has inspired millions of young people, and whilst receiving much admiration, she has also faced much criticism.
The speeches included in this book are:
Our Lives are in Your Hands– a speech addressing the climate march in 2018. Most striking was Greta’s comment on the disregard for her generation’s future:
“So please, treat the climate crisis like the acute crisis it is and give us a future. Our lives are in your hands.”
Almost Everything is Black and White- a speech delivered to Extinction Rebellion in 2018- Greta called for civil disobedience with the well known phrase:
“It is time to rebel”.
Unpopular- a speech delivered at the UN Climate Change Conference in 2018- Greta critiques the inaction of UN leaders towards climate change and declares that:
“We have not come here to beg world leaders to care. You have ignored us in the past and you will ignore us again. You’ve run out of excuses and we’re running out of time. We’ve come here to let you know that change is coming whether you like it or not. The real power belongs to the people.”
Prove Me Wrong- Greta addresses the World Economic Forum at Davos in 2019- she asks that ‘you prove me wrong’ for the sake of the future, and for the WEF to stand on the right side of history by pledging to do everything in their power to push their own businesses and governments in line with a 1.5 degrees celsius world.
Our House is On Fire- in yet another address to the WEF at Davos in 2019, Greta announces that Our House is On Fire, and thus highlighting the urgency of the climate crisis to the WEF.
“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.”
I’m Too Young to Do This- Greta responds to criticisms over social media in 2019, and talks of her entry into activism so as to emphasise the integrity of her activism to those who have criticised her and her family.
You’re Acting Like Spoiled, Irresponsible Children- Greta address the European Economic and Social Committee, once again critiquing the inaction towards climate change and pointing out the urgency for action now.
“I am sorry, but saying everything will be all right while continuing doing nothing at all is just not hopeful to us. In fact, it’s the opposite of hope. And yet this is exactly what you keep doing. You can’t just sit around waiting for hope to come- you’re acting like spoiled, irresponsible children. You don’t seem to understand that hope is something you have to earn. And if you still say that we are wasting valuable lesson time, then let me remind you that our political leaders have wasted decades through denial and inaction. And since our time is running out we have decided to take action. We have started to clean up your mess and we will not stop until we are done.”
A Strange World– Greta dedicates her Goldene Kamera Film and TV Award to ‘the people fighting to protect the Hambach Forest. And to activists everywhere who are fighting to keep the fossil fuels in the ground’. She speaks of the strange world that her generation are having to inherent, and how the actions of adults do not make sense in the context of climate crisis. She states that this is the only world we have and finishes by pointing out the crossroads we are at in history, and in the shaping of how the crisis will pan out:
“We are failing but we have not yet failed. We can still fix this. It’s up to us.”
Cathedral Thinking– Greta addresses the European Parliament in 2019, and repeats that we need to act as if our house is on fire, pleading for members to listen to the scientists.
Together We are Making a Difference- Greta addresses an Extinction Rebellion Rally in 2019, with great gratitude and a message that:
“We are the ones making a difference. We, the people in Extinction Rebellion, and those striking school for the climate, we are making a difference. It shouldn’t be like that, but since no one else is doing anything, we will have to do so. And we will never stop fighting, we will never stop fighting for this planet, and for ourselves, our futures, and for the futures of our children and our grandchildren. Thank you.”
Can You Hear Me? – Greta addresses the Houses of Parliament (UK), in 2019, and massively critiques the UK government’s handling of the crisis, offering examples of where things are going wrong, and calling them out on the business as usual approach that they have had. She represents the concerns of her generation when she says:
“We children are doing this to wake the adults up. We children are doing this for you to put your differences aside and start acting as you would in a crisis. We children are doing this because we want our hopes and dreams back. I hope my microphone was on. I hope you could all hear me”.
Personally, I think Greta is not only a brilliant advocate for the future of our planet, she is an outstanding role model for young people. For too long youth voices have gone unheard, often with adults telling young people what they think- such as in the riots of 2011. Greta Thunberg addresses this.
Although, it must be mentioned, that there are many brilliant young activists who fight for our planet who are not given the same attention or praise, and we must ask ourselves- why is this? People like Jamie Margolin, Mari Copeny, Xiye Bastida, Isra Hirsi, Kevin Patel, Elsa Mengistu, and Nadia Nazar,