As a throng of climate strikers crowded New York City’s Battery Park on Friday, Greta Thunberg lamented the empty promises of politicians who are ensuring a world in which the youth suffer due to their inaction.
“No matter where you are, that burden, they leave to us teenagers, us children,” the 16-year-old Swedish climate change activist said before more than 300,000 people.
Elementary to college-age students skipped school to attend the historic event, holding signs criticizing politicians like “If you did your job we’d be in class right now.” The crowd, congesting Foley Square, had marched about 20 minutes from the park to hear several speakers, including Thunberg whose become a leader for youth climate change activists. Several people needed medical attention during the event, with Thunberg stopping her speech twice to direct medics to help those in need as the blaring sun beat down on the crowd.
A year ago, Thunberg skipped school and protested alone outside Swedish parliament. On Friday, roughly 4 million people joined her across the globe in climate strikes from Australia to London to Dublin to Berlin. At the New York march, demonstrators shouted “I love you Greta” and chanted her name.
“The eyes of the world will be on them.”
The strike is one of two global climate change demonstrations planned this month, with the other set to take place on Sept. 27.
Thunberg is in America to speak at the U.N. Climate Action Summit on Monday. She urged world leaders attending the summit to use scientific evidence to back their choices.
“The eyes of the world will be on them. They have a chance to prove that they too are united behind the science,” she said.
Earlier this week, Thunberg testified for a congressional hearing on the global youth climate movement, saying “I don’t want you to listen to me. I want you to listen to the scientists.”
She arrived in New York from Britain on a zero-emissions boat on Aug. 28 after a rough two-week journey at sea after refusing to fly in a greenhouse gas-spewing plane.
The youth of today will be hit hard by the ever-growing consequences of climate change. Activists are imploring politicians across the globe to set policies that will help limit Earth’s warming.
“In fact, everywhere I’ve been the situation is more or less the same,” Thunberg said. “The people in power, their beautiful words are the same. The number of politicians and celebrities who want to take selfies with us are the same. The empty promises are the same. The lies are the same and the inaction is the same.”
“Nowhere have I found anyone in power who dares to tell it like it is.”