School strike for climate – save the world by changing the rules | Greta Thunberg | TEDxStockholm


Translator: Akinori Oyama
Reviewer: Peter van de Ven When I was about eight years old, I first heard about something
called climate change or global warming. Apparently, that was something
humans have created by our way of living. I was told to turn off
the lights to save energy and to recycle paper to save resources. I remember thinking
that it was very strange that humans, who are
an animal species among others, could be capable of changing
the Earth’s climate. Because if we were,
and if it was really happening, we wouldn’t be talking
about anything else. As soon as you’d turn on the TV,
everything would be about that. Headlines, radio, newspapers, you would never read or hear
about anything else, as if there was a world war going on. But no one ever talked about it. If burning fossil fuels was so bad
that it threatened our very existence, how could we just continue like before? Why were there no restrictions? Why wasn’t it made illegal? To me, that did not add up. It was too unreal. So when I was 11, I became ill. I fell into depression, I stopped talking, and I stopped eating. In two months, I lost
about 10 kilos of weight. Later on, I was diagnosed
with Asperger syndrome, OCD and selective mutism. That basically means I only speak
when I think it’s necessary – now is one of those moments. (Applause) For those of us who are on the spectrum, almost everything is black or white. We aren’t very good at lying, and we usually don’t enjoy
participating in this social game that the rest of you seem so fond of. (Laughter) I think in many ways
that we autistic are the normal ones, and the rest of the people
are pretty strange, (Laughter) especially when it comes to
the sustainability crisis, where everyone keeps saying
climate change is an existential threat and the most important issue of all, and yet they just carry on like before. I don’t understand that, because if the emissions have to stop, then we must stop the emissions. To me that is black or white. There are no gray areas
when it comes to survival. Either we go on
as a civilization or we don’t. We have to change. Rich countries like Sweden
need to start reducing emissions by at least 15 percent every year. And that is so that we can stay
below a two-degree warming target. Yet, as the IPCC
have recently demonstrated, aiming instead for 1.5 degrees Celsius would significantly
reduce the climate impacts. But we can only imagine
what that means for reducing emissions. You would think the media
and every one of our leaders would be talking about nothing else, but they never even mention it. Nor does anyone ever mention the greenhouse gases
already locked in the system. Nor that air pollution is hiding a warming so that when we stop burning fossil fuels, we already have an extra level of warming perhaps as high as
0.5 to 1.1 degrees Celsius. Furthermore does hardly
anyone speak about the fact that we are in the midst
of the sixth mass extinction, with up to 200 species
going extinct every single day, that the extinction rate today is between 1,000 and 10,000 times higher than what is seen as normal. Nor does hardly anyone ever speak about
the aspect of equity or climate justice, clearly stated everywhere
in the Paris Agreement, which is absolutely necessary
to make it work on a global scale. That means that rich countries need to get down to zero emissions
within 6 to 12 years, with today’s emission speed. And that is so that people
in poorer countries can have a chance to heighten
their standard of living by building some of the infrastructure
that we have already built, such as roads, schools, hospitals, clean drinking water,
electricity, and so on. Because how can we expect
countries like India or Nigeria to care about the climate crisis if we who already have everything
don’t care even a second about it or our actual commitments
to the Paris Agreement? So, why are we not reducing our emissions? Why are they in fact still increasing? Are we knowingly causing
a mass extinction? Are we evil? No, of course not. People keep doing what they do because the vast majority
doesn’t have a clue about the actual consequences
of our everyday life, and they don’t know
that rapid change is required. We all think we know,
and we all think everybody knows, but we don’t. Because how could we? If there really was a crisis, and if this crisis was caused
by our emissions, you would at least see some signs. Not just flooded cities,
tens of thousands of dead people, and whole nations leveled
to piles of torn down buildings. You would see some restrictions. But no. And no one talks about it. There are no emergency meetings,
no headlines, no breaking news. No one is acting
as if we were in a crisis. Even most climate scientists
or green politicians keep on flying around the world,
eating meat and dairy. If I live to be 100,
I will be alive in the year 2103. When you think about the future today,
you don’t think beyond the year 2050. By then, I will, in the best case,
not even have lived half of my life. What happens next? The year 2078, I will celebrate
my 75th birthday. If I have children or grandchildren,
maybe they will spend that day with me. Maybe they will ask me about you, the people who were around, back in 2018. Maybe they will ask
why you didn’t do anything while there still was time to act. What we do or don’t do right now
will affect my entire life and the lives of my children
and grandchildren. What we do or don’t do right now, me and my generation
can’t undo in the future. So when school
started in August of this year, I decided that this was enough. I set myself down on the ground
outside the Swedish parliament. I school striked for the climate. Some people say that I
should be in school instead. Some people say that I should study
to become a climate scientist so that I can “solve the climate crisis.” But the climate crisis
has already been solved. We already have
all the facts and solutions. All we have to do is
to wake up and change. And why should I be studying for a future
that soon will be no more when no one is doing anything
whatsoever to save that future? And what is the point of learning facts
in the school system when the most important facts given by the finest science
of that same school system clearly means nothing
to our politicians and our society. Some people say that Sweden
is just a small country, and that it doesn’t matter what we do, but I think that if a few children
can get headlines all over the world just by not coming to school
for a few weeks, imagine what we could all do
together if you wanted to. (Applause) Now we’re almost at the end of my talk, and this is where people
usually start talking about hope, solar panels, wind power,
circular economy, and so on, but I’m not going to do that. We’ve had 30 years of pep-talking
and selling positive ideas. And I’m sorry,
but it doesn’t work. Because if it would have, the emissions would have gone down by now. They haven’t. And yes, we do need hope, of course we do. But the one thing we need
more than hope is action. Once we start to act,
hope is everywhere. So instead of looking for hope, look for action. Then, and only then, hope will come. Today, we use 100 million
barrels of oil every single day. There are no politics to change that. There are no rules
to keep that oil in the ground. So we can’t save the world
by playing by the rules, because the rules have to be changed. Everything needs to change, and it has to start today. Thank you. (Applause)

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