“‘It has not only become acceptable for leaders to lie [about climate change] — it’s almost what we expect them to do.’ ”
That’s 19-year-old activist Greta Thunberg in a surprise appearance Saturday from a major stage at England’s famed Glastonbury festival.
Thunberg roused the crowd at the popular, if high-priced, celebration of musical acts and more into chants of “climate … justice.”
“We are approaching the precipice, and I would strongly suggest that all of those who have not yet been greenwashed out of our senses to stand our ground,” said Thunberg.
Crowds of all sizes make little difference to Thunberg, who has rallied students, addressed the United Nations, and repeatedly makes world leaders at least sit up and listen after she turned a solo protest in front of Swedish parliament a few years ago into a global campaign.
“Do not let them drag us another inch closer to the edge,” Thunberg said Saturday, the Guardian, along with other news outlets, reported. “Right now is where we stand our ground.”
Drawing cheers of approval from the apparently favorable crowd, she blamed world leaders for failing to halt the climate emergency and for creating “loopholes” that allow for fossil-fuel expansion
and for ecological destruction to go unchecked, even as Earth’s atmosphere reaches dangerous temperatures.
There’s been increased tension between those efforting a push for greener energy solutions and those who want any kind of relief for households and businesses hit by sharply higher traditional energy prices in the wake of COVID-19 and energy-rich Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
In fact, at least one critical voice tweeted Saturday that only those paying the high price of the festival ticket, upwards of £260, or nearly $320, “can afford to live under [Thunberg’s] green policies.”
Activists, some lawmakers and clean-energy executives say 2022’s energy crisis can’t derail Earth-saving efforts and, in fact, makes the case for more domestic, renewable sources
in Europe, the U.S. and elsewhere.
For Thunberg’s Gen Z, now aged roughly 10 to 25, climate change is personal and seemingly omnipresent. Within the short time they’ve spent on Earth, record-breaking wildfires risk becoming the new normal and hurricane relief funds flood their social-media feeds as often as branded content.
Read: More than half of young people surveyed think ‘humanity is doomed’ due to climate change
Thunberg has ramped up her efforts after last year’s “code red” warning from the U.N.’s climate panel. Scientists participating in that effort say human-led warming is already accelerating sea-level rise, melting crucial ice caps and creating more (and more frequent) droughts, floods and storms. Extreme and deadly heat waves, for example, remain rare, they said. But that rarity has narrowed from roughly once every 50 years to once every decade or so.
Thunberg ended Saturday’s appearance by pushing for action over talk, which she said can “create hope” instead of waiting for it to arrive.
“It cannot be gained from standing by passively and waiting for someone else to do something,” Thunberg said. “It is taking action. It is stepping outside your comfort zone. And if a bunch of school kids were able to get millions of people on the streets and start changing their lives, just imagine what we could all do together if we try.”
Read: Greta Thunberg’s campaign has a new school-ditching strike video: ‘If current generations don’t care about the future of our planet, who will?’
Thunberg’s is perhaps the second highest-profile speech of the festival after the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, in the throes of war since Russia’s unprovoked invasion in February, delivered a video address early Friday.