On Tuesday, 16-year-old activist Greta Thunberg testified before the United Nations as part of the Climate Action Summit — and tore world leaders a new one.
“I shouldn’t be up here,” she said. “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.”
Thunberg continued her speech, criticising insufficient efforts to cut carbon emissions and prioritising “business as usual” over the existence of future generations. Her statements — and unrelenting glare aimed at President Donald Trump who popped by the summit for 15 minutes — have electrified social media.
Thunberg has become a leader in environmental activism in her own right; in 2018, her protest against climate change went viral and prompted this year’s Climate Strike, an effort by young people to demand change in the days preceding the UN’s Climate Action Summit.
Meanwhile Trump, who more or less mocked Thunberg’s emotional call to action, apparently has other matters to attend to; on Tuesday, the president delivered remarks before the United Nations on matters of military power and globalism.