Greta Thunberg Chastises European Parliament for Prioritizing Brexit Over Climate Change
Greta Thunberg, the Swedish 16-year-old who has inspired young people around the world to strike from school over climate change, addressed the European Parliament's environment committee Tuesday, The Guardian reported.
At one point during her speech at the parliament's seat in Strasbourg, Thunberg choked back tears as she discussed the sixth mass extinction.
"The extinction rate is up to six times faster than what is considered normal, with up to 200 species becoming extinct every single day," she said. "Erosion of fertile topsoil, deforestation of the rainforest, toxic air pollution, loss of insects and wildlife, acidification of our oceans — these are all disastrous trends."
Here are some other highlights of her talk.
1. Brexit: Thunberg faulted European leaders for spending more time addressing the UK's departure from the EU than the climate crisis, saying that they were not treating the latter like the emergency it is.
"If our house was falling apart, you wouldn't hold three emergency Brexit summits and no emergency summit regarding the breakdown of the climate and the environment," she said.
"It's 30 years too late for that kind of celebration," she said.
2. EU Elections: The next elections for members of European Parliament (MEPs) will take place in late May. Thunberg addressed this in her talk, mentioning that she and other young people worried about their futures cannot vote.
"You need to listen to us, we who cannot vote. You need to vote for us, for your children and grandchildren. What we are doing now, can soon no longer be undone. In this election, you vote for the future living conditions of humankind," she said.
3. Notre Dame: Thunberg made two references to the fire that caused the spire of the historic Paris cathedral to collapse Monday.
"Yesterday, the world watched with despair and enormous sorrow how the Notre Dame burned in Paris. Some buildings are more than just buildings. But the Notre Dame will be rebuilt. I hope that its foundations are strong. I hope that our foundations are even stronger, but I fear they are not," she said at the beginning of her speech.
She referenced the church again towards the end, saying that the vision and courage required to make the necessary changes to combat climate change would require "cathedral thinking."
You can watch her whole speech here:
MEPs decided not to invite her to address the parliament's debating chamber in February after it was proposed by the Greens. Liberal and center-right MEPs argued against it on the grounds that the spot should be reserved for politicians or officials and that a child would be too vulnerable in that environment, The Guardian reported.
MEPs responded well to Tuesday's speech, giving her a 30 second standing ovation. Individual members also thanked her after the speech, as The Parliament Magazine reported.
"I speak as a mother of two and I feel the same as you, Greta," Maltese deputy Miriam Dali said. "But when it comes to the crunch we, here, often end up backing down from our climate ambitions."
Dutch Green MEP Bas Eickhout also thanked her.
"I hope we all remember this day when we speak of an end to the world in July when we vote on new EC [European Commission] president and whether we really want to change our policies, phase out coal and make aviation pay," he said.
Please Retweet: The Youth Have Seen Enough https://t.co/dv1UzAGk0B— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1547377931.0
World's Richest One Percent Are Producing More Than Double the Carbon Emissions as the Bottom 50 Percent
A new report from Oxfam found that the wealthiest one percent of the world produced a carbon footprint that was more than double that of the bottom 50 percent of the world, The Guardian reported. The study examined 25 years of carbon dioxide emissions and wealth inequality from 1990 to 2015.
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By Jessica Corbett
This story was originally published on Common Dreams on September 19, 2020.
Some advocates kicked off next week's Climate Week NYC early Saturday by repurposing the Metronome, a famous art installation in Union Square that used to display the time of day, as a massive "Climate Clock" in an effort to pressure governments worldwide to take swift, bold action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and rein in human-caused global heating.
<div id="0bde7" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="002ce26d8d0c627f76d752e14d234d6e"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1307397838884741121" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">LIVE: #ClimateClock about to go live at Union square replacing the atronomical clock, with a carbon countdown!… https://t.co/5OzxwUwWDf</div> — Greg Schwedock🌹(⧖) (@Greg Schwedock🌹(⧖))<a href="https://twitter.com/GregSchwedock/statuses/1307397838884741121">1600542909.0</a></blockquote></div><p>A mobile climate clock that Swedish youth activist Greta Thunberg "now carries with her, as well as the larger Climate Clock project, was assembled by a team of artists, makers, scientists, and activists based in New York, and is part of the Beautiful Trouble community of projects," according to <a href="https://climateclock.world/" target="_blank">Climateclock.world</a>, which details the science behind the numbers displayed and how to install clocks in other cities.</p>
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Project goal: To create an environmentally friendly and sustainable alternative to leather, in this case using fungi.