Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg has chastised world leaders for their failure to take decisive steps to thwart the climate crisis in a passionate speech at the UN General Assembly meeting in New York, which she called a “betrayal”.
“You are still not mature enough to tell it like it is. You are failing us. But the young people are starting to understand your betrayal,” Thunberg, the figurehead of a worldwide 'school strike' movement in which thousands of children have walked away from school to protest climate change, said.
Seemingly disappointed with the politicians' perceived inaction in the face of what she's described as an imminent catastrophe, Thunberg lashed out with brash accusations.
“You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words,” a tearful Thunberg grimaced, visibly shaking. “The eyes of all future generations are upon you. And if you choose to fail us I say we will never forgive you. We will not let you get away with this. Right here, right now is where we draw the line,” she said.
Given the controversy that surrounds Greta Thunberg, who is often seen as brave fighter, a political tool and a climate fanatic depending on who you ask, her burning speech triggered polarising reactions, ranging from delight to extreme scepticism.
None other that Donald Trump, the perennial target of the climate movement, sarcastically praised Greta as a “very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future”. The two crossed paths the very same evening, Thunberg rewarding the president with a fixed stare.
She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see! https://t.co/1tQG6QcVKO— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 24 сентября 2019 г.
Many found the 16-year-old's very appearance in New York, for which she took a sabbatical from school and crossed the Atlantic in a symbolic voyage on board a €4 million zero-emissions yacht, unbecoming.
A young lass from Sweden lecture begins with “I shouldn’t be here”......— Peter Phillips-Vass (@PhillipsVass) 23 сентября 2019 г.
You should be in the face of your Swedish government to deal with Islamic extremism in its own borders.
Look at your own backyard sweetie before educating others.#Thunberg
Some drew a comparison between Greta Thuberg and writer and activist Severn Cullis-Suzuki, the daughter of US climate activist David Suzuki. As a girl, she received a lot of praise for her fiery speech before the UN in 1992.
“Child abuse” was another recurrent theme.
We don't know who writes the words that come out of this wretched child's mouth, or who manipulates her mind to deliver them so repugnantly, but we do know whoever is behind it, they are child abusers! pic.twitter.com/3PHoP2cfoU— BrexitDirectAction (@ActionBrexit) 23 сентября 2019 г.
Others dubbed Thunberg's speech “aphorism-induced narcolepsy”.
Still others berated Thunberg for failing to address the world's largest polluters, such as China, India and Africa, instead focusing her guilt trips on the Western world.
Little Stormtrooper maddy face acting Greta #Thunberg:— Kent T McDonaldsson (@NFLMcDonalder) 23 сентября 2019 г.
She isn’t berating China, India, or Africa, specifically.
The 3 biggest pollution and carbon offenders on the planet
The Communist #Chinese & India would not let her near that country nor Africa
Even in her home country Sweden, where she is almost beatified by the sympathetic media, many were not happy with her appearance.
“Now this is getting scary for real”, a user mused.
Det här börjar bli läskigt nu på riktigt. pic.twitter.com/1aOoSpLkQl— Roger menslogik Sahlström (@ROGSAHL) 23 сентября 2019 г.
“Who stole Greta's childhood? Perhaps the question should be addressed to the parents,” writer and blogger Katerina Janouch wrote. Thunberg has a wide medical record that includes depression and an eating disorder, whereas her current diagnoses include obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and Asperger's syndrome. Incidentally, Beata, her little sister, has also been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Asperger's and OCD.
Vem stal Gretas barndom? Frågan kanske bör riktas till föräldrarna....— Katerina Janouch🐲🇸🇪✡️🇮🇱🇨🇿🐸 (@katjanouch) 23 сентября 2019 г.
“The gal is about ti become the Messiah and deliver the entire world from evil. Honestly though, she wasn't feeling well today. And no adult stopped this hysteria”, another one scoffed.
Ska Tösen bli den nya Messias och frälsa hela världen i från ondo. Ärligt talat hon mår inte bra i dag. Att inte någon vuxen sätter stopp för denna hysteri.— Charlie ( GAB:ar ibland ) (@SWE_Charlie) 23 сентября 2019 г.
Thunberg's climate activism sparked a nationwide movement in Sweden, which later mushroomed to dozens of countries, earning her a Nobel Prize nomination alongside an array of awards and making her a media darling.