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  • India Grand Challenges 1): Ensuring universal eco-friendly waste management .

 Greta Quotables- Igniting Minds, Inspiring Action 

Date of Publish - Friday, 31st May 2019
igniting_minds

The 24th of May 2019 might be remembered as one of those historical days, when an estimated 1.8 million young people in 2350 cities marched for climate action in 125 countries. Certainly, the 16-year old who inspired each of these youngsters must rank among the greatest influencers in human history. Greta Thunberg’s nomination for the Nobel peace prize, whether she wins or not at her tender age, is a harbinger of hope for the environmental movement and for the Earth. Surely, it can’t be long before our leaders are forced to take decisive action and save our planet from cataclysmic collapse.

The unprecedented weekly mobilization of students started as the intrepid girl’s silent protest outside the Swedish Parliament. In less than a year since she started her school strike, the Swedish teenager has emerged as the articulate voice of the youth of the world, demanding action. The ‘School Strikes 4 Climate’ and ‘Fridays for Future’ are now global movements that governments cannot ignore. Greta has walked the course on climate change and her actions have been complimented by erudite words of wisdom and vision.

At the World Economic Summit in Davos, Greta was hailed for telling the global elite to their face, “…and some people say the climate crisis is something we all have created but that is not true. Because if everyone is guilty, no one is to blame. And someone is to blame…some people, some companies, some decision makers, in particular, have known exactly what priceless values they have been sacrificing to continue making unimaginable amounts of money. And I think many of you here today belong to that group of people.”

That was not the only time she was blunt; the big and the powerful left speechless by a small girl is a rallying factor, alongside the fear of extinction, for her success in galvanizing the youth of the world. The best way to understand her mission, and indeed, the anxiety of her generation, is to read and re-read her speeches.

This compilation of her ‘Quotables’ will engage people of all ages for a long time to come.

“…Everyone keeps saying that climate change is an existential threat and the most important issue of all, and yet they just carry on as before. I don’t understand that. Because if the emissions have to stop, then we must stop the emissions. To me that is black or white. There are no grey areas when it comes to survival. Either we go on as a civilization or we don’t. We have to change.”

“Some people say that we are not doing enough to fight climate change. But that is not true. Because to ‘not do enough’ you have to do something. And the truth is we are basically not doing anything.”

“Our civilization is being sacrificed for the opportunity of a very small number of people to continue making enormous amounts of money. Our biosphere is being sacrificed so that rich people in countries like mine can live in luxury. It is the sufferings of the many which pay for the luxuries of the few.”

“For 25 years countless of people have stood in front of the United Nations climate conferences, asking our nation’s leaders to stop the emissions. But, clearly, this has not worked since the emissions just continue to rise. 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.”

“You only talk about moving forward with the same bad ideas that got us into this mess”

“We cannot solve a crisis without treating it as a crisis.”

“Instead of looking for hope, look for action. Then, and only then, hope will come. We can’t save the world by playing by the rules, because the rules have to be changed. Everything needs to change, and it has to start today.”

“You say you love your children above all else and yet, you’re stealing their future in front of their very eyes.”

“We must hold the older generations accountable for the mess they have created…and say to them you cannot continue risking our future like this.”

“The climate crisis has already been solved, we already have all the facts and solutions, what we have to do is wake up and change.”

“In a way, it’s the most complicated issue that exists and it will require an incredible amount to stop it. But the solution is still so easy that a 5-year-old can understand it. We must stop the emissions. It’s black and white.”

“We do need hope. Of course, we do. But the one thing we need more than hope is action. Once we start to act, hope is everywhere.”

“The politics needed to meet the Paris agreement does not exist anywhere today. Not one single political party to my knowledge is even close to approaching the solutions required for the IPCC 1,5. But that is about to change. We, the people, have started new movements. Join in!”

“I ask you to stand on the right side of history. I ask you to pledge to do everything in your power to push your own business or government in line with a 1.5C world.”

“…and some people say the climate crisis is something we all have created but that is not true. Because if everyone is guilty, no one is to blame. And someone is to blame…some people, some companies, some decision makers, in particular, have known exactly what priceless values they have been sacrificing to continue making unimaginable amounts of money. And I think many of you here today belong to that group of people”

“Adults keep saying we owe it to the young people to give them hope. But I don’t want your hope. I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. And then I want you to act. I want you to act as you would in a crisis. I want you to act as if the house was on fire. Because it is.”

While accepting a special German Golden Camera award, one of the most recognized media awards at Berlin few weeks back, she came up with another of her eminently ‘quotable’ lines, which defines the emergence and importance of her leadership, “We live in a strange world, where children must sacrifice their education in order to protest against the destruction of their future.”

Author :
Rituraj Phukan

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