Greta Thunberg addresses European decision-makers with strong message

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climate march belgium feb 2019

Last Thursday, Swedish 16-year-old climate activist, Greta Thunberg, spoke to European leaders and demonstrated alongside roughly 12.000 youths in the Brussels climate march.

Thunberg’s speech in the European Social an Economic Committee (EESC) was received with standing ovations. "Some people say we are fighting for our future but that is not true, we are not fighting for our future, we are fighting for everyone's future," Thunberg said.

Thunberg was accompanied by the organisers for the ongoing school strikes in Belgium, Netherlands and Germany who all marched together in the streets of Brussels after the conference at the European Commssion.

Thunberg said that the new target set by the EU for 2030 “is still not enough to keep global warming below 1,5 degrees Celsius” and that the target is “not sufficient to protect our future for children growing up today.” The EU targets demand the EU cut its emissions by 40 per cent by 2030. The president of the European Commission who was also speaking at the conference, Jean-Claude Juncker, suggested raising the cut to 45 per cent. However, Thunberg demanded that the EU cut its emissions by 80 per cent if the climate goals set out in the Paris Agreement are to be fulfilled.

"Our political leaders have wasted decades in denial and inaction and because our time is running out, we have decided to take action to clean up your mess," Thunberg said. "If you think we should be in school instead, then I suggest that you take our place in the streets striking for new work or better yet - join us in speeding up the process," she continued.

Thunberg and the other school strike organisers marched together with roughly 12000 students in the streets of Brussels before gathering in front of a stage put up next to Gare du Midi.

Anuna de Wever and Kyra Gantois, the Belgian organisers of the school strikes, were also present.

“This is incredible,” Thunberg said from the stage after thanking the participants for joining the march. “For way too long the people in power have gotten away with not caring about the climate crisis, but we will make sure they will not do that anymore,” Thunberg continued. “We will keep on striking until they do something,” she said to the cheers and chants from the audience in front of the stage.

“We are not only changing the world, but we are also saving the world.”

Thursday’s strike was the seventh Thursday in a row where Belgian youth has gone on school strike to march against climate change. The climate strikes have spread to multiple cities in Europe, such as London, Berlin and Paris. Several strikes have also been organised in Australia, Canada, the USA and Japan.