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The Future of Climate Change: Greta Thunberg’s Youth4Climate Speech

Youth4Climate is a three-day summit hosted in Milan, Italy. Around 400 climate activist attendees from 180 countries presented recommendations to be considered by dozens of ministers on the last day of the summit. After that, the issue will be reexamined at the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland, this November.

Of the several speakers who contributed at the summit, Greta Thunberg’s speech was one to remember. The Swedish environmental activist called out world leaders for not taking forceful action towards the climate crisis.

Thunberg began her speech by stating, “Climate change is not only a threat. It is, above all, an opportunity to create a healthier, cleaner and greener planet which will benefit all of us.” The audience was hesitant to react to the 18-year-old speaker’s words. She continued by quoting United States President Joe Biden, “When I say climate change, what do you think of? I think jobs. Green jobs. Green jobs.” The audience finally understood just what Thunberg was doing and began to chuckle and applaud.

The activist persisted by saying, “We must find a smooth transition towards a low carbon economy. There is no Planet B,” she stated, quoting a speech given by French President Emmanuel Macron. Thunberg continued, “There is no Planet Blah. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.” She mocked the politicians’ words, and according to CNN, “…in her jibe at UK Prime Minister Johnson, Thunberg derided the leader’s rhetoric around his government’s ‘green recovery’ plans.” She stated, “This is not about some expensive, politically correct dream at the bunny hugging or blah, blah, blah. Build back better, blah, blah, blah. Green economy, blah, blah, blah.”

Thunberg continued, “Net-zero, blah, blah, blah. Climate-neutral, blah, blah, blah. This is all we hear from our so-called leaders—words, words that sound great but so far have led to no action or hopes and dreams. Empty words and promises.”

Last week, Thunberg, alongside thousands of protesters, rallied around the German parliament building in Berlin and protested for policymakers to take meaningful action towards slowing down the climate crisis. This protest is part of the “School Strike for Climate” movement, also known as “Fridays For Future.” This movement, started by Greta Thunberg in 2018, has orchestrated several protests all over the globe and gathered thousands of volunteers willing to skip school on Fridays to fight for a better future.

If all goes well, environmental pressures from activists, including Greta Thunberg, will demand world leaders to produce aggressive policies and actions to limit the spread of global warming at the Glasgow climate summit in November. According to CNN, “The youth attendees will come up with a list of recommendations for ministers to consider later this week. Ministers are expected to try and align their positions on issues on the Glasgow agenda, including putting an end date on the use of coal and who should pay what to assist the Global South in its transition to low-carbon economies.”

As Greta Thunberg powerfully claimed at the end of her speech, “What do we want? Climate Justice! When do we want it? Now!”

Watch Greta Thunberg’s speech on her Instagram.

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Hey! I'm Isly and I am a freshman majoring in English (Editing, Writing, & Media) at Florida State University. Some of my interests include searching for new music, analyzing films, planning out my outfits, or fantasizing about my dream life.
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