Last Updated: April 15, 2022. Outside the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP26, 19-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg challenged world leaders for inaction in the face of the global climate crisis.
The Swedish powerhouse, who originally began advocating for political action against climate change outside the country’s parliament building at the ripe age of 15, called for “no more blah, blah, blah” near the conference in Glasgow on November 1st, 2021.
Greta Thunberg Demands COP26 Leaders Take Action
“Inside COP, there are just politicians and people in power pretending to take our future seriously,” Greta Thunberg said to a crowd gathered outside the COP26 summit. “Pretending to take the present seriously of the people who are already being affected today by the climate crisis. Change is not going to come from inside there, that is not leadership — this is leadership. This is what leadership looks like.”
Thunberg went on, demanding an end to the exploitation of people and the planet. She said that politicians have been letting the crisis go on for too long, but that she and the others gathered at the meeting won’t be letting them get away with it much longer.
“You can shove your climate crisis up your arse,” Thunberg and the crowd chanted empathically in protest. Many of the other protesters gathered with Thunberg were part of Fridays for Future, the school climate strike movement she and other students in Sweden organized to fight for climate action back in 2018.
Greta Thunberg: “You Have Stolen My Dreams and My Childhood”
The movement picked up speed quickly after Thunberg addressed the 2018 United Nations Climate Change Conference. Since then, multiple student-led protests have taken place around the world, and the young activist has earned international acclaim.
After sailing to North America (foregoing an airplane to avoid unnecessary emissions) to attend the UN Climate Action Summit in 2019, Thunberg’s famously heated and emotionally raw speech, again about the inaction of global businesses and policymakers, went viral.
“You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words,” Thunberg said. “And yet I’m one of the lucky ones. 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 fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!”
Greta Thunberg Started a Sustainable Lifestyle at 8 Years Old
Thunberg first began learning about the climate crisis at the age of eight, committing to sustainable living through gradual lifestyle changes like going vegan and urging her parents to do the same. She was later diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Asperger’s syndrome and selective mutism — a severe anxiety disorder where a person is unable to speak in certain social situations. That means Thunberg speaks “when absolutely necessary,” which only goes to highlight the importance of her cause.
So far in her young life, Thunberg has already been included in Time’s list of the 100 most influential people, Forbes’ list of the world’s 100 most powerful women, and she’s been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize three years in a row — among several other achievements.
Greta Thunberg Urges Action Against the Climate Crisis
To Thunberg, there are no grey areas when it comes to climate change. We either go on as a species or we don’t, and it’s up to us to make the changes necessary for our own survival. Her message comes just days after a talking dinosaur invaded the U.N. and urged the crowd not to “choose extinction” and start taking climate change seriously.
COP26 will run from October 31 to November 12, 2021 in Glasgow, Scotland.
Up next: 5 inspiring young climate activists who are making a difference.