Activism Works: Greta Thunberg at Ambassador of Conscience 2019

Amnesty International India
18 September 2019 2:51 pm

This speech was delivered to an audience at George Washington University, Washington, D.C. by Greta Thunberg.

Thank you everyone. I am so honored to be in this room with so many amazing people. Please give yourself an applause. 

This award is for all of those millions of people, young people, around the world who together make up the movement called Fridays for Future. All these fearless youth, fighting for their future. A future they should be able to take for granted.

But as it looks now, they cannot. 

With our business as usual, we are currently on track for a world that could displace billions of people from their homes, taking away even the most basic living conditions for countless of people. Making areas of the world uninhabitable for humans.

The fact that this will create huge conflict and unspoken suffering is far from a secret. And yet, the link between the climate and ecological emergency, mass migration, famine, violations of human rights and war is still not clear to many people. 

The changes and the politics required to take on the crisis simply doesn’t exist today.

That is why every single one of us must push from every possible angle, to hold those responsible and accountable and to make the people in power act and to take the measures required.

We, who together are the movement Fridays for Future, we are fighting for our lives. But not only that, we are also fighting for our future children and grandchildren, for future generations, for every single living being on earth, whose biosphere we share, whose biosphere we are stealing, whose biosphere we are ruining.

We are fighting for everyone. For you. 

For the people living in areas of the world that are already suffering the consequences from the first stages of the climate and ecological emergency.

People who breathe toxic air, who drink contaminated water, who have to flee their homes because of climate and environmental-related disasters.

Indigenous communities whose lands and waters are being destroyed. People whose food and water supply is being threatened by environmental-related catastrophes, stronger and more frequent droughts, rainfalls, storms, or melting glaciers. Whole nations are now literally being left in ruins or disappearing underneath rising sea levels.

People are dying. And yet, so many of us keep looking away. 

The world has never seen a threat to human rights of this scope. So said by the UN Rights chief, Michelle Bachelet, recently during the UN Human Rights council in Geneva, referring to the climate crisis.

She said, the economies of all nations, the institutional, political, social, and cultural fabric of every state, and the rights of all our people and future generations will be impacted.

This is exactly the clarity we need now from governments and the people in power.

Right now, the world’s emissions of greenhouse gasses keep rising rapidly. The destruction of natural habitats are continued at horrendous speed despite all of the beautiful words and promises from our leaders.

We are still moving in the wrong direction with unimaginable pace. It may seem impossible to pull the emergency break, and yet that is what we have to do.

But right now, I think there is an awakening going on. Even though it is slow, the pace is picking up and the debate is shifting.

This is thanks to a lot of different reasons, but it is a lot because of countless of activists and especially young activists.

Activism works. 

So what I’m telling you to do now, is to act. Because no one is too small to make a difference. 

I’m urging all of you to take part in the global climate strikes on September 20th and September 27th.

And just one last thing…see you on the streets.