We have borrowed it from our children and we must be careful to use it in their interests as well as our own. Anyone who fails to recognise the basic validity of the proposition is either ignorant, a fool, or evil.
We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children
What if money or property, even substantial amounts, will be insufficient to guarantee security for your heirs. What if no amount of money will assure them a livable climate, fresh air, safe drinking water and an escape from flood or drought.
With such vital resources in short supply, the wealthy might be in a better position to provide for themselves, but ultimately, there is no escape from a less livable planet.
Global warming is now irreversible, and nothing can prevent large parts of the planet becoming too hot to inhabit, or sinking underwater, resulting in mass migration, famine and epidemics.
The Earth has already become warmer and less comfortable. The ice caps are melting; water supplies are threatened; heat waves and heavy rains are intensifying; and species are becoming extinct.
In the Anthropocene, leaving something to the next generation means that we leave them a livable environment. In the Anthropocene, leaving something to your children requires additional hard work; not just to accumulate savings, but to save the planet or to keep it habitable.
It requires much more than turning off lights, turning down the heat, carrying cloth bags to market, and recycling.
Leaving something obligates you to become informed about climate change. It requires that you recognize that climate change is man-made and that Human beings can slow the process by using less energy, more efficient energy, and alternatives to fossil fuels.
It means informing about the causes of climate change and possibilities for its mitigation. It means political advocacy. It means actively supporting an environmental movement that must become a mass, planetary movement.
My namen is Greta Thunberg. I am 15 years old, and I’m from Sweden. I speak on behalf of Climate Justice Now!
Many people say that Sweden is just a small country, and it doesn’t matter what we do. But I’ve learned that you are never too small to make a difference. And if a few children can get headlines all over the world just by not going to school, then imagine what we could all do together if we really wanted to.
But to do that, we have to speak clearly, no matter how uncomfortable that may be. You only speak of green eternal economic growth because you are too scared of being unpopular. You only talk about moving forward with the same bad ideas that got us into this mess, even when the only sensible thing to do is pull the emergency brake. You are not mature enough to tell it like it is. Even that burden you leave to us children.
But I don’t care about being popular. I care about climate justice and the living planet. Our civilization is being sacrificed for the opportunity of a very small number of people to continue making enormous amounts of money. Our biosphere is being sacrificed so that rich people in countries like mine can live in luxury. It is the sufferings of the many which pay for the luxuries of the few.
The year 2078, I will celebrate my 75th birthday. If I have children, maybe they will spend that day with me. Maybe they will ask me about you. Maybe they will ask why you didn’t do anything while there still was time to act. You say you love your children above all else, and yet you are stealing their future in front of their very eyes.
Until you start focusing on what needs to be done, rather than what is politically possible, there is no hope. We cannot solve a crisis without treating it as a crisis. We need to keep the fossil fuels in the ground, and we need to focus on equity. And if solutions within the system are so impossible to find, then maybe we should change the system itself.
We have not come here to beg world leaders to care. You have ignored us in the past, and you will ignore us again. We have run out of excuses, and we are running out of time. We have come here to let you know that change is coming, whether you like it or not. The real power belongs to the people. Thank you.