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Greta Thunberg: We are the Change and Change is Coming



Greta Thunberg



Week for Future, Climate Strike, Montreal


Bonjour Montréal! Je suis très heureuse d’être ici au Canada au Québec! Ça me rappelle la maison. Merci! They say we have 500,000 people marching here in Montreal today! 
It’s great to be in Canada. It’s a bit like coming home. I mean, you are so similar to Sweden, where I’m from. 
You have moose and we have moose. You have cold winters and lots of snow and pine trees. And we have cold winters and lots of snow and pine trees. 
You have the caribou and we have reindeer. You play ice hockey and we play ice hockey. 
You have maple syrup and we have . . . well . . . forget about that one. 
You are a nation that allegedly is a climate leader. And Sweden is also a nation that is allegedly a climate leader. And in both cases it sadly means absolutely nothing. Because in both cases it’s just empty words. And the politics needed is still nowhere in sight. 
So we are basically the same! 
Last week well over 4 million people in over 170 countries striked for the climate. 
We marched for a living planet and a safe future for everyone. 
We spoke the science and demanded that the people in power would listen to and act on the science. 
But our political leaders didn’t listen. 
This week world leaders gathered in New York for the UN Climate Action Summit. They disappointed us once again with empty words and insufficient action. We told them to unite behind the science. But they didn’t listen. 
So today we are millions around the world striking and marching again. And we will keep on doing it until they listen. If the people in power won’t take responsibility, then we will. It shouldn’t be up to us, but somebody needs to do it. 
They say we shouldn’t worry, that we should look forward to a bright future. But they forget that if they would have done their job, we wouldn’t need to worry. If they had started in time then this crisis would not be the crisis it is today. And we promise: once they start to do their job and take responsibility, we will stop worrying and go back to school, go back to work. And once again, we are not communicating our opinions or any political views. The climate and ecological crisis is beyond party politics. We are communicating the current best available science. 
To some people – particularly those who in many ways have created this crisis – that science is far too uncomfortable to address. But we who will have to live with the consequences – and indeed those who are living with the climate and ecological crisis already – don’t have a choice. To stay below 1.5°C – and give us a chance to avoid the risk of setting off irreversible chain reactions beyond human control – we must speak the truth and tell it like it is. 
In the IPCC’s SR15 report that came out last year it says on page 108, chapter 2, that to have a 67 per cent chance of staying below a 1.5°C global temperature rise – the best odds given by the IPCC – the world had 420 gigatonnes of CO2 left to emit back on 1 January 2018. 
Today that figure is already down to less than 350 gigatonnes. 
With today’s emissions levels, that remaining CO2 budget will be entirely gone within less than 8.5 years. 
And please note that these calculations do not include already locked-in warming hidden by toxic air pollution, non-linear tipping points, most feedback loops, or the aspect of equity, climate justice. 
They are also relying on my generation sucking hundreds of billions of tonnes of CO2 out of the air with technologies that barely exist. 
And not once, not one single time, have I heard any politician, journalist or business leader even mention these numbers. 
They say let children be children. We agree, let us be children. Do your part, communicate these kinds of numbers instead of leaving that responsibility to us. Then we can go back to ‘being children’. 
We are not in school today. We are not at work today. Because this is an emergency. And we will not be bystanders. 
Some would say we are wasting lesson time; we say we are changing the world. So that when we are older we will be able to say we did everything we could. And we will never stop doing that. We will never stop fighting for the living planet and for our future. 
We will do everything in our power to stop this crisis from getting worse. Even if that means skipping school or work. Because this is more important. 
We have been told so many times that there’s no point in doing this, that we won’t have an impact anyway, that we can’t make a difference. I think we have proven that to be wrong by now. 
Through history, the most important changes in society have come from the bottom up, from grassroots. The numbers are still coming in – but it looks like well over 7 million people have joined the Week for Future, the strikes on this and last Friday. That is one of the biggest demonstrations in history. The people have spoken and we will continue to speak until our leaders listen and act. We are the change and change is coming. 
Le changement arrive – si vous l’aimez ou non!