COP24: Climate Change Through a Child’s Eyes

  • Teenage climate change activist, Greta Thunberg spoke at Cop24 this week in Poland.
  • She directed her anger at politicians, “everyone was saying one thing but doing the exact same opposite every time”.
  • “Since our leaders are behaving like children, we will have to take the responsibility they should have taken long ago”

Greta Thunberg, is a Swedish teenager who began a one-woman protest: SKOLSTREJK FÖR KLIMATET (School Strike for Climate) outside of the Swedish Parliament during the European summer. She became an overnight success by making her country aware of the perils of climate change and is now internationally recognised.

Greta was invited to speak at COP24, United Nations Climate Change Conference, happening this week in Katowice, Poland. The young girl did not mince her words, directing her anger towards politicians when it comes to climate change, “everyone was saying one thing but doing the exact same opposite everytime. Meanwhile, emissions continue to grow”.

Here is her full speech:

“For 25 years countless people have stood in front of the United Nations climate conferences, asking our nations leaders to stop the emissions. But, clearly this has not worked since the emissions just continue to rise. So I will not ask them anything”.  

“Instead I will ask the media to start treating the crisis as a crisis. Instead I will ask the people around the world to realize that our political leaders have failed us. Because we are facing an existential threat and there is no time to continue down this road of madness” .

Rich countries like Sweden need to start reducing emissions by at least 15% every year to reach the 2 degree warming target. You would think the media and everyone of our leaders would be talking about nothing else — but no one ever even mentions it.

Nor does hardly anyone ever talk about that we are in the midst of the sixth mass extinction, with up to 200 species going extinct every single day.

Furthermore does no one ever speak about the aspect of equity clearly stated everywhere in the Paris Agreement, which is absolutely necessary to make it work on a global scale. That means that rich countries like mine need to get down to zero emissions, within 6–12 years with todays emission speed, so that people in poorer countries can highten their standard of living by building some of the infrastructure that we have already built. Such as hospitals, electricity and clean drinking water.

Because how can we expect countries like India, Colombia or Nigeria to care about the climate crisis if we, who already have everything, don’t care even a second about our actual commitments to the Paris Agreement?

So when school started in August this year I sat myself down on the ground outside the Swedish parliament. I striked school for the climate.

Some people say that I should be in school instead. Some people say that I should study to become a climate scientist so that I can “solve the climate crisis”. But the climate crisis has already been solved. We already have all the facts and solutions.

And why should I be studying for a future that soon may be no more, when no one is doing anything to save that future? And what is the point of learning facts when the most important facts clearly means nothing to our society?

Today we use 100 million barrels of oil every single day. There are no politics to change that. There are no rules to keep that oil in the ground.

So we can’t save the world by playing by the rules. Because the rules have to be changed.

So we have not come here to beg the world leaders to care for our future. They have ignored us in the past and they will ignore us again.

We have come here to let them know that change is coming whether they like it or not. The people will rise to the challenge. And since our leaders are behaving like children, we will have to take the responsibility they should have taken long ago.”

Author: Bryan Groenendaal

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Green Building Africa promotes the need for net carbon zero buildings and cities in Africa. We are fiercely independent and encourage outlying thinkers to contribute to the #netcarbonzero movement. Climate change is upon us and now is the time to react in a more diverse and broader approach to sustainability in the built environment. We challenge architects, property developers, urban planners, renewable energy professionals and green building specialists. We also challenge the funding houses and regulators and the role they play in facilitating investment into green projects. Lastly, we explore and investigate new technology and real-time data to speed up the journey in realising a net carbon zero environment for our children.

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