Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, who has inspired a global movement for climate change, delivered a strong message to US lawmakers on Wednesday: “Wake up.”
Wrapping up a six-day visit to Washington, DC, the 16-year-old Thunberg rallied a room full of Democratic lawmakers and activists, urging them to follow scientific warnings and push for strong measures to combat climate change.
“This is not the time and place for dreams. This is the time to wake up,” Thunberg said behind a lowered podium at the ornate House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee room.
Thunberg spent the day in Congress and on the steps of the SC, lending her star power to US and youth activists who were drumming up attention and support ahead of a global climate strike on Friday.
She began with a pointed message before a US congressional hearing: “I don’t want you to listen to me. I want you to listen to the scientists.”
Thunberg, founder of the “Fridays For Future” weekly school walkouts to demand government climate-change action, submitted a 2018 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change at the hearing in lieu of testimony. It urged rapid, unprecedented changes to the way people live in order to keep temperatures from rising by 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2030.
Thunberg was one of four students invited to a joint hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, Energy and the Environment and the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, to provide the next generation’s views on climate change.
Her first appearance took place last Friday in front of the White House, where she encouraged fellow young activists to keep fighting to be heard.
As world leaders head to New York for a climate summit called by the United Nations, the United States will be represented by a junior official.
Marcia Bernicat, the principal deputy assistant secretary of state for oceans and international environmental and scientific affairs, “will represent the United States at the UN Secretary General’s Climate Summit,” a State Department spokeswoman said.