Greta Thunberg: Our lives are in your
hands

This is my cry for help

Greta doesn’t back down. Here she is seen by the Swedish parliament in her school strike. Photography: Klimatmagasinet Effekt
This video of Greta Thunberg’s speech has Swedish audio and English subtitles. Photography: Adam Johansson, AdaMediaMedMera

Last summer, climate scientist Johan Rockström and some other people wrote that we have at most three years to reverse growth in greenhouse-gas emissions if we’re going to reach the goals set in the Paris agreement.

Over a year and two months have now passed, and in that time many other scientists have said the same thing and a lot of things have got worse and greenhouse-gas emissions continue to increase. So maybe we have even less time than the one year and ten months Johan Rockström said we have left.

If people knew this they wouldn’t need to ask me why I’m so “passionate about climate change.”

If people knew that the scientists say that we have a five percent chance of meeting the Paris target, and if people knew what a nightmare scenario we will face if we don’t keep global warming below 2 °C, they wouldn’t need to ask me why I’m on school strike outside parliament.

Because if everyone knew how serious the situation is and how little is actually being done, everyone would come and sit down beside us.

In Sweden, we live our lives as if we had the resources of 4.2 planets. Our carbon footprint is one of the ten worst in the world. This means that Sweden steals 3.2 years of natural resources from future generations every year. Those of us who are part of these future generations would like Sweden to stop doing that.

Right now.

This is not a political text. Our school strike has nothing to do with party politics.

Because the climate and the biosphere don’t care about our politics and our empty words for a single second.

They only care about what we actually do.

This is a cry for help.

Greta Thunberg talking to people passing by at the Swedish parliament. Photography: Klimatmagasinet Effekt

To all the newspapers who still don’t write about and report on climate change even though they said that the climate was “the critical question of our time” when the Swedish forests were burning this summer.

To all of you who have never treated this crisis as a crisis.

To all the influencers who stand up for everything except the climate and the environment.

To all the political parties that pretend to take the climate question seriously.

To all the politicians that ridicule us on social media, and have named and shamed me so that people tell me that I’m retarded, a bitch and a terrorist, and many other things.

To all of you who choose to look the other way every day because you seem more frightened of the changes that can prevent catastrophic climate change than the catastrophic climate change itself.

Your silence is almost worst of all.

The future of all the coming generations rests on your shoulder.

Those of us who are still children can’t change what you do now once we’re old enough to do something about it.

A lot of people say that Sweden is a small country, that it doesn’t matter what we do. But I think that if a few girls can get headlines all over the world just by not going to school for a few weeks, imagine what we could do together if we wanted to.

Every single person counts.

Just like every single emission counts.

Every single kilo.

Everything counts.

So please, treat the climate crisis like the acute crisis it is and give us a future.

Our lives are in your hands.


Greta Thunberg, 15 year-old, refusing school for the climate outside the Swedish parliament. Read about here protest here.

The above text is written by Greta Thunberg. It is published with Greta Thunberg’s approval.


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