“Do you think they hear us?” asked a demure-looking 16-year-old girl in a dauntless voice.
Her plain pink dress had no frills, just like her. Head down with a nervous yet sanguine smile, she walked to the main stage as easily as she sailed across the Atlantic Ocean to reach New York on a zero- emissions sailboat.
The loud and fiesty “No” that answered her question spoke not just of the top brass’ passivity but also her rising prominence. Until last year’s United Nations’ Climate Change Conference held in Poland, many would walk past her, musing what a “child was doing at the high-level meet.”
But things changed as fast as the climate. Today at the Battery Park in New York, over 2.5 lakh people across the globe had all eyes on her.
A naive climate activist? Not anymore. Greta Thunberg on Friday created history by bringing around 4 million people across the globe to fight for one cause, the crisis of climate change.
Addressing the massive crowd in New York after the first-of-its-kind climate march, Thunberg chose to be brief but bold with her speech. “We have not taken to the streets, sacrificing our education for the adults to take selfies with us and tell us that they really admire what we are doing. We are doing this to wake up the leaders because we deserve a safe future,” she said.
For the “small group of people threatened by us”, Thunberg’s message on behalf of the global youth was loud and clear – “We have some very bad news for you – This is only the beginning. Change is coming whether they like it or not.”
The loud cheers from the crowd motivated the teenager to go on. “What’s the point of educating ourselves or learning facts when people on power refuse to listen to the educated? Where I come from, things are very different from here. But when it comes to climate and ecological emergency, it’s pretty much the same everywhere,” said Thunberg adding that empty promises and inaction are the same wherever she went.
Thunberg, who is all set to speak at the UN Youth Climate Summit on Saturday, added that the citizens should do everything in their power to stop the climate crisis. “We are not just some young people skipping school or adults missing on their work. We are waiting wave of change,” – her final words rippled a strong wave of outrage among the protestors.
But as promised, it all went peacefully.