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Science & Environment

Climate Activist Greta Thunberg Calls On World Leaders To Take Action At The U.N.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Sixteen-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg only needed five minutes to make her point to the adults in the room at the United Nations Climate Action Summit in New York.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

GRETA THUNBERG: I shouldn't be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean, yet you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you? You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words, and yet, I'm one of the lucky ones.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

During her speech, Thunberg begged world leaders to recognize the way climate change will hurt future generations.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

GRETA: 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?

(APPLAUSE)

CORNISH: Thunberg then criticized the U.N.'s plans to confront the threat of a warming planet.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

GRETA: You say you hear us and that you understand the urgency. But no matter how sad and angry I am, I do not want to believe that because if you really understood the situation and still kept on failing to act, then you would be evil. And that, I refuse to believe.

SHAPIRO: The teenager ended her speech by saying U.N. leaders are not mature enough to tell it like it is.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

GRETA: We will not let you get away with this. Right here, right now is where we draw the line. The world is waking up, and change is coming, whether you like it or not. Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

CORNISH: Greta Thunberg speaking at the U.N.'s Climate Action Summit in New York today. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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