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Greta Thunberg Has Given Up on Politicians| Greta Thunberg Has Given Up on Politicians
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Greta Thunberg Has Given Up on Politicians| Greta Thunberg Has Given Up on Politicians


So why aren’t we striking? I’m striking for us to take the climate crisis seriously and treat it like a crisis. Yes, but what should politicians do? I want them to listen and to act on the science. How can we solve the climate problem? It is absurd that this question is asked over and over to me as a teenager. But it is not as absurd as the fact the climate and ecological emergency are being reduced to a problem that must be fixed. This is the most serious crisis humanity has ever experienced. We demand a safe and secure future. Is this too much? I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to act like your house is on fire. Humanity is not yet at the end of its political and economic journeys. One year ago, it would have seemed impossible to imagine seeing photos of me everywhere. If you would care about this kind of attention, then you’d probably develop a self-image that is far from sane. Presidents, prime minsters, kings, and princesses suddenly see the opportunity to get a photo, which they can later post on Instagram with #savetheplanet. Perhaps they forget the shame of their generation failing future generations. “You all come to us young people for hope. How dare ya! With your empty words, you have taken my childhood and dreams. Yet I’m one of the lucky ones. People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are crashing. All you can talk about are money and fairy tales that promise endless economic growth. How dare you!” “And if you choose to fail us, I say we will never forgive you. The world is awakening. And change is coming whether you like it or not.” On the subway home, some come forward to congratulate me. Someone suggests that we celebrate. But I don’t understand what their congratulations are for. And I understand even less what we’re supposed to be celebrating. Yet another meeting is over. All that remains are empty words. It can get repetitive after some time. No matter where you live in the world, politicians are the same everywhere. I urged them to listen to the science and act now before it’s too late. They say that they think it’s so amazing that I’m so active and committed and that, when I grow up, I too can become a politician and make a real difference. I then explain that when I’ve grown up, it will be too late to act if we are to stay below the 1.5 or even 2 degree Celsius target. They start laughing nervously and begin to talk about something else. Washington, D.C. I’m called to testify in the U.S. Congress. “I am submitting this report as my testimony because I don’t want you to listen to me. I want scientists to be heard. Thank you.” In the latest update from the I.P.C.C., scientists underline keeping the global temperature rise to below 1.5 degrees Celsius. Today, we have already reached 1.2 degrees global warming. On January 1, 2018, we had 420 gigatons of CO₂ left to emit globally. This carbon budget gives us the best chance of staying below the 1.5 degree goal. We emit about 42 gigatons of CO₂ every year. So today, the world is down to lower than 280 gigatons of CO₂ left. That is the equivalent of less than six and a half years of today’s business-as-usual emissions until that budget completely runs out. Do you remember “Gangnam Style”? It was eight years ago. That’s longer than the amount of time we are talking about. We do this to maximize our chances of avoiding irreversible chain reaction beyond human control, such as feedback loops or tipping points. The climate crisis is not an equitable crisis. The ones who’ll be hit hardest from its consequences are often the ones who have done the least to cause the problem in the first place. The climate crisis cannot be solved within today’s political and economic systems. That’s not an opinion. That’s a fact. And since the truth is uncomfortable, unpopular and unprofitable, the truth doesn’t stand much of a chance. The Emperors are naked, each and every one. Our society is one big nudist party. “And if you belong to that small group of people who feel threatened by us, then we have some very bad news for you. This is only the beginning.” Every Friday, I continue to strike wherever I find myself to be at that moment. There are many people showing up everywhere, all ages. We face unprecedented human history-altering changes. Things may look dark, but I’m telling you there is hope. The people, democracy and you are the ones who can bring that hope. “What do we want?” “Government action.” “When do we want it?” “Now!” We have passed a social tipping point. We cannot look away from the things our society has ignored for so many years. It is an existential emergency. We must now do what seems impossible. It is up to us, because no one else can do it for you. But who is Greta really? Greta is the person people want to know. I’m not important. This has nothing to do me. I’m simply doing this because no one else is doing it.

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