Greta Thunberg’s Speech

Greta Thunberg’s Speech at the UN Climate Action Summit

By Greta Thunberg, originally published by PBS News Hours

September 24, 2019

“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!”


“How dare you pretend that this can be solved with business-as-usual and some technical solutions. With today’s emissions levels, that remaining CO2 budget will be entirely gone within less than eight and a half years.”


“There will not be any solutions or plans presented in line with these figures here today. Because these numbers are too uncomfortable. And you are still not mature enough to tell it like it is.

You are failing us. But 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.


We will not let you get away with this. Right here, right now is where we draw the line. The world is waking up. And change is coming, whether you like it or not.”


It takes courage to tell it as it is.  It takes courage to speak out when your neighbours are speaking with their heads in the sand. Our exploitative economic system sucks us into such a subservient system – a “company store” – binding that we are compelled to shut up and put up.  The ecosystem is still a misunderstood theory to many, boundless, loving Earth energy is credited to God and disaster is too often credited to God’s will. The environment is understood by many to be something “other” than us that we are at the mercy of. Many pray as if they think that the creator needs our praise and dishes out favours to selected followers. Some, hopefully a growing number realise that we “are” the planet.  Thus, as the planet suffers so do we.

“It is not a matter of being “close to nature.” The relationship is more one of identity, in the mathematical sense, than of affinity. The Earth is, in a very real sense, the same as ourself (or selves), and it is this primary point that is made in the fiction and poetry of the Native American writers of the Southwest.”  Paula Gunn Allen.  Maybe that’s why a homespun, behavioural, saying goes:  You must love yourself before you can love others.

As long as we see the Earth as “other” there is very little chance that we will change our behaviour or our destructive lifestyle.