16-year-old who sparked climate change protests across Europe delivers striking message to global elites
Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old girl from Sweden whose activism for climate change sparked protests demonstrations across Europe delivered a bold message to financial and political elites as they gathered at the World Economic Forum in Davos earlier this week.
"Adults keep saying we owe it to the young people, to give them hope. But I don't want your hope. I don't want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. I want you to act,” Thunberg said during her speech on Thursday, according to NPR News.
“I want you to act as you would in a crisis. I want you to act as if the house is on fire, because it is,” she continued.
The teenager explained to the BBC shortly after her speech that her message “was that most emissions are caused by a few people, the very rich people, who are here in Davos."
"These people have very much power, they could really change something, so I think they have a huge responsibility. They need to put their economic goals aside to safeguard the living conditions of humankind in the future,” Thunberg told the news agency.
According to the BBC, a number of protesters have organized across Europe crediting Thunberg for their inspiration.
Thunberg reportedly came into international prominence last year after she began demonstrating outside the Swedish parliament once a week to advocate for climate change.
The young activist would reportedly take a 32-hour train ride to Sweden from Davos to demonstrate.
Her mode of transport also served to underline the need for cleaner forms of traveling as other forms of transportation like jets have gained notoriety for their high emissions of carbon dioxide.