Speeches of Greta Thunberg

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Greta Thunberg giving a speech in Berlin (July 2019).

Greta Thunberg is a Swedish climate activist. She has been noted for her skills as orator.[1] Her speech at the 2018 United Nations climate summit made her a household name.[2] Prior to her speaking engagements Thunberg demonstrated outside Swedish Riksdag using the signage "skolstrejk för klimatet", school strike for climate.[3]

November 2018: TEDxStockholm[edit]

On 24 November 2018, she spoke at TEDxStockholm.[4][5] She spoke about realizing, when she was eight years old, that climate change existed and wondering why it was not headline news on every channel, as if there was a world war going on. She said she did not go to school to become a climate scientist, as some suggested, because the science was done and only denial, ignorance, and inaction remained. Speculating that her children and grandchildren would ask her why they had not taken action in 2018 when there was still time, she concluded with "we can't change the world by playing by the rules, because the rules have to be changed."[6]

December 2018: COP24[edit]

Thunberg addressed the COP24 United Nations climate change summit on 4 December 2018,[7] and also spoke before the plenary assembly on 12 December 2018.[8][9]

January 2019: World Economic Forum[edit]

Thunberg's speech "Our house is on fire" in Davos (January 2019).
Extinction Rebellion banner citing Thunberg's speech "Our house is on fire" (London, October 2019).

On 25 January Thunberg gave a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos. She warned the global leaders that "I don't want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. And then I want you to act. I want you to act as you would in a crisis. I want you to act as if the house was on fire—because it is".[10] She has also stated that that politicians and decision-makers need to listen to the scientists.[11]

February 2019: European Economic and Social Committee[edit]

On 21 February 2019, she spoke at a conference of the European Economic and Social Committee and to European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker, where she said that to limit global warming to less than the two degrees C goal established at the Paris Agreement, the EU must reduce their CO
2
emissions by 80% by 2030, double the 40% goal set in Paris. "If we fail to do so" she said, "all that will remain of our political leaders' legacy will be the greatest failure of human history."[12][13]

March 2019: Brandenburg Gate[edit]

Thunberg speaking in front of the Brandenburg Gate on 29 March 2019

In the weekend 29–31 March 2019, Thunberg visited Berlin. She spoke in front of some 25,000 people near the Brandenburg Gate on 29 March, where she argued that "We live in a strange world where children must sacrifice their own education in order to protest against the destruction of their future. Where the people who have contributed the least to this crisis are the ones who are going to be affected the most."[14] On 30 March, Thunberg received the 'Golden Camera' Special Award on Germany's annual film and television award show. In her acceptance speech at the gala, Thunberg urged celebrities everywhere to use their influence and do their fair share of climate activism to help her.[15][16][17]

April 2019: European Parliament[edit]

At an April 2019 meeting at the European Parliament in Strasbourg with MEPs and EU officials, Thunberg chided those present "for three emergency Brexit summits and no emergency summit regarding the breakdown of the climate and the environment". Climate change discussions have not been dominant at EU summits because other issues have taken precedence.[18] She said the world is facing its "sixth mass extinction" and said: "We have not treated this crisis as a crisis; we see it as another problem that needs to be fixed. But it is so much more than that. It’s an existential crisis, more important than anything else."[18][19]

May 2019: Austrian World Summit R20[edit]

In May 2019, Thunberg met with Arnold Schwarzenegger, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, and Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen at the launch of a conference organised by Schwarzenegger to speed up progress toward the Paris Agreement.[20] Quoting the most recent IPCC report she said: "If we haven't made the changes required by approximately the year 2030, we will probably set off an irreversible chain reaction beyond human control. Then we will pass a point of no return which will be catastrophic." 17,000 people attended the event from 30 different countries.[21]

July 2019: Normandy's Freedom Prize[edit]

On 21 July 2019, Thunberg received the Normandy's Freedom Prize. In her speech she said: "Yesterday I spent the day with the D-day veteran Charles Norman Shay at Omaha beach. It was a day I will never forget. Not only because of the unimaginable bravery and sacrifices made by those who gave their lives to defend the freedom and democracy of the world. But also because they managed to do the seemingly impossible possible. I think the least we can do to honour them is to stop destroying that same world that Charles, Léon and their friends and colleagues fought so hard to save for us."[22]

September 20, 2019: Global Climate Strike (New York City)[edit]

On 20 September 2019, Thunberg spoke to New York City's contingent of the Global Climate Strike. The demonstration in New York City was one of hundreds around the world with millions of people taking part. Young people were joined by adults for the first time since the strikes began. Thunberg drew laughter when she described how the politicians that she met asked her for selfies and "tell us they really, really admire what we do yet have done nothing to address the climate crisis."[23][24]

September 23, 2019: United Nations Climate Action Summit[edit]

On 23 September 2019, Thunberg addressed the assembled world leaders at the 2019 UN Climate Action Summit held in New York City. Accusing world leaders of stealing her dreams and her childhood by their inaction on climate change, she opened her speech to the General Assembly with an impassioned introduction, which was widely covered by the media.

"This is all wrong. I shouldn’t be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to us young people for hope? How dare you! You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. And yet I’m one 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 fairytales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!"[25] "You are failing us." Thunberg stated. "But 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.[26]

Philosopher Peter Singer wrote that Thunberg's speech was "the most powerful four-minute speech I have ever heard." [27] US President Donald Trump, who had attended the meeting for 10 minutes and then left, tweeted a video of her opening remarks and commented: "She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!"[28] Thunberg did not directly comment on Trump's tweet but she did make a change to her Twitter bio wherein she described herself as "A very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future."[29]

The speech was incorporated in various musical performances. In September 2019, John Meredith set the speech to death metal.[30] The Australian musician Megan Washington and composer Robert Davidson used the same 'how dare you' speech, for a performance at an event exploring the future of music.[31] DJ Fatboy Slim created a mashup of this speech with his dance hit Right Here, Right Now.[32]

September 27, 2019: Global Climate Strike (Montreal)[edit]

Greta Thunberg speaking at the Climate March in Montreal (Canada).

On 27 September 2019, Thunberg was in Montreal, Canada, for its Global Climate Strike. Following a press conference, Thunberg joined First Nations Indigenous people and together they led the climate march. After the marchers gathered at the main stage, Thunberg delivered a speech which was peppered with French. Thunberg told Montreal marchers that the fight against climate change will not stop until world leaders take the problem seriously.[33]

December 11, 2019: COP25 United Nations Climate Conference (Madrid, Spain)[edit]

On 11 December 2019, Thunberg addressed the COP25. In part, she stated: “For about a year I have been constantly talking about our rapidly declining carbon budgets over and over again. But since that is still being ignored, I will just keep repeating it."[34]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Knight, Sam. "The Uncanny Power of Greta Thunberg's Climate-Change Rhetoric". The New Yorker. Retrieved 3 February 2020.
  2. ^ Thanki, Nathan (2 October 2019). "What does Greta Thunberg's call for equity mean?". Climate Home News. Retrieved 3 February 2020.
  3. ^ Jonathan Watts for theguardian.com
  4. ^ Thunberg, Greta (24 November 2018). School strike for climate – save the world by changing the rules. TEDxStockholm. Event occurs at 1:46. Retrieved 29 January 2019 – via YouTube. I was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome, OCD, and selective mutism. That basically means I only speak when I think it's necessary. Now is one of those moments… I think that in many ways, we autistic are the normal ones, and the rest of the people are pretty strange, especially when it comes to the sustainability crisis, where everyone keeps saying that climate change is an existential threat and the most important issue of all and yet they just carry on like before.
  5. ^ "TEDxStockholm Theme: Wonderland". TED. 24 November 2018. Archived from the original on 17 September 2019. Retrieved 20 December 2018.
  6. ^ Jones, Nigel (30 December 2018). "Why we all need to be more like Greta". Nine by Five Media. Medium. Archived from the original on 16 February 2019. Retrieved 15 February 2019.
  7. ^ Carrington, Damian (4 December 2018). "'Our leaders are like children', school strike founder tells climate summit". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 2 January 2019. Retrieved 22 July 2019.
  8. ^ Thunberg, Greta (13 December 2018). "You Are Stealing Our Future: Greta Thunberg, 15, Condemns the World's Inaction on Climate Change". Democracy Now!. Archived from the original on 4 January 2019. Retrieved 22 July 2019. You only speak of a green eternal economic growth because you are too scared of being unpopular. 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. […] And if solutions within the system are so impossible to find, then maybe we should change the system itself.
  9. ^ Thunberg, Greta (15 December 2019). "Greta Thunberg full speech at UN Climate Change COP24 Conference". Connect4Climate. Archived from the original on 23 July 2019. Retrieved 22 July 2019 – via YouTube.
  10. ^ Thunberg, Greta (25 January 2019). "I want you to panic: 16-year-old issues climate warning at Davos". Guardian News. Event occurs at 2:23. Archived from the original on 17 September 2019. Retrieved 22 July 2019 – via YouTube.
  11. ^ "'It's an existential crisis. Listen to scientists'". BBC News. Archived from the original on 14 August 2019. Retrieved 31 August 2019.
  12. ^ Carmichael, Lachlan (22 February 2019). "Climate activist Thunberg urges EU to double carbon reduction targets". Agence France-Presse. Archived from the original on 21 February 2019. Retrieved 22 February 2019 – via Yahoo! News.
  13. ^ "Swedish teen leads Belgian students on 7th climate march". Associated Press. 21 February 2019. Archived from the original on 22 July 2019. Retrieved 22 July 2019.
  14. ^ Thumiger, Reto (31 March 2019). "Fridays the [sic] for Future: 25000 demonstrate in Berlin with Greta Thunberg". Pressenza. Archived from the original on 31 March 2019. Retrieved 5 April 2019.
  15. ^ Lindgren, Emma (2 April 2019). "Greta Thunberg Wins German Award". Inside Scandinavian Business. Archived from the original on 28 April 2019. Retrieved 9 April 2019.
  16. ^ Waldholz, Rachel; Wehrmann, Benjamin (29 March 2019). "Greta Thunberg joins German students for climate protest in Berlin". Clean Energy Wire. Archived from the original on 31 March 2019. Retrieved 5 April 2019.
  17. ^ Gilliver, Liam (4 April 2019). "Greta Thunberg Calls Out Celebrities To Face Climate Crisis in Powerful Speech". Plant Based News. Archived from the original on 30 April 2019. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  18. ^ a b Rankin, Jennifer (16 April 2019). "Forget Brexit and focus on climate change, Greta Thunberg tells EU". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 23 April 2019. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  19. ^ Climate icon Greta Thunberg finds that political change is ‘complicated’, Archived 6 August 2019 at the Wayback Machine Politico, 16 April 2019
  20. ^ Bairstow, Jonny (29 May 2019). "Greta Thunberg and Arnie team up to terminate climate change". Energy Live News. Archived from the original on 5 July 2019. Retrieved 22 July 2019.
  21. ^ "Greta Thunberg Joins Arnold Schwarzenegger & More To Deliver Speeches on Climate". Time. 28 May 2019. Archived from the original on 7 August 2019. Retrieved 22 July 2019 – via YouTube.
  22. ^ Rodrigo, Chris Mills (22 July 2019). "Greta Thunberg receives Normandy's Freedom Prize, donates prize money to climate groups". TheHill. Retrieved 25 September 2019.
  23. ^ Barnard, Anne; Barron, James (20 September 2019). "Climate Strike N.Y.C.: Young Crowds Demand Action, Welcome Greta Thunberg". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 20 September 2019. Retrieved 20 September 2019.
  24. ^ "Across the globe, millions join biggest climate protest ever". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 September 2019.
  25. ^ Thunberg, Greta (23 September 2019). "If world leaders choose to fail us, my generation will never forgive them | Greta Thunberg". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Archived from the original on 23 September 2019. Retrieved 23 September 2019.
  26. ^ "Transcript: Greta Thunberg's Speech at the U.N. Climate Action Summit". NPR.org. Retrieved 27 September 2019.
  27. ^ "Greta Thunberg's Moment". Project Syndicate. Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  28. ^ "'She seems very happy': Trump appears to mock Greta Thunberg's emotional speech". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 September 2019.
  29. ^ Greve, Joan E. (24 September 2019). "Greta Thunberg turns tables on Trump and quotes his mockery in new Twitter bio". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 27 September 2019.
  30. ^ Chuck, Elizabeth. "Greta Thunberg's U.N. speech set to death metal music goes viral". NBC News. Retrieved 2 February 2020.
  31. ^ Clear, Source: Crystal (9 December 2019). "Greta Thunberg's 'how dare you' speech performed by Megan Washington and Robert Davidson – video". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2 February 2020.
  32. ^ Eede, Christian (10 October 2019). "Fatboy Slim plays Greta Thunberg 'Right Here, Right Now' mash-up: Watch". DJMag.com. Retrieved 2 February 2020.
  33. ^ 27 September, y Riga Updated; 2019 (27 September 2019). "Live coverage – 500,000 in Montreal climate march led by Greta Thunberg | Montreal Gazette". Retrieved 27 September 2019.
  34. ^ Kettley, Sebastian (12 December 2019). "Greta Thunberg UN speech in FULL: Read climate activist's condemnation of world leaders". Express.co.uk. Retrieved 13 December 2019.