Even most climate scientists or green politicians keep on flying around the world, eating meat and dairy.
If I live to be 100, I will be alive in the year 2103. When you think about the future today, you don’t think beyond the year 2050.
By then, I will, in the best case, not even have lived half of my life.
What happens next? The year 2078, I will celebrate my 75th birthday.
If I have children or grandchildren, maybe they will spend that day with me. Maybe they will ask me about you, the people who were around, back in 2018.
Maybe they will ask why you didn’t do anything while there still was time to act.
What we do or don’t do right now will affect my entire life and the lives of my children and grandchildren. What we do or don’t do right now, me and my generation can’t undo in the future.
So when school started in August of this year, I decided that this was enough. I set myself down on the ground outside the Swedish parliament. I school striked for the climate.
Some people say that I should be in school instead.
Some people say that I should study to become a climate scientist so that I can “solve the climate crisis.”
But the climate crisis has already been solved. We already have all the facts and solutions. All we have to do is to wake up and change.
And why should I be studying for a future that soon will be no more when no one is doing anything whatsoever to save that future?
And what is the point of learning facts in the school system when the most important facts given by the finest science of that same school system clearly means nothing to our politicians and our society.
Some people say that Sweden is just a small country, and that it doesn’t matter what we do. But I think that if a few children can get headlines all over the world just by not coming to school for a few weeks, imagine what we could all do together if you wanted to.
Now we’re almost at the end of my talk, and this is where people usually start talking about hope, solar panels, wind power, circular economy, and so on, but I’m not going to do that.
We’ve had 30 years of pep-talking and selling positive ideas. And I’m sorry, but it doesn’t work.
Because if it would have, the emissions would have gone down by now. They haven’t.
And yes, 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.
So instead of looking for hope, look for action. Then, and only then, hope will come.
Today, we use 100 million barrels of oil every single day. There are no politics to change that. There are no rules to keep that oil in the ground.
So 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.