On August 28, 2019, 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg arrived in New York City, sailing thousands of miles away from her home across the Atlantic Ocean, in preparation for the 2019 UN Climate Action Summit. Since then, the teen learned how to navigate the NYC subway system (a nearly impossible task), hung out in Central Park, and led a global climate strike that brought millions of people together across the world to fight for our planet. As many signs stated, "There is no planet B."
If all of that sounds pretty wild to you, it should. Thunberg has been holding school strikes, known as #FridaysForFuture, since 2018, and today at the UN Climate Action Summit she made it clear that this absolutely should not be her job. "This is all wrong. I shouldn't be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean," she exclaimed in her speech to UN leaders. "Yet you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you!"
She continues, "You have stolen my dreams, my childhood with your empty words. And yet, I'm one of the lucky ones. People are suffering, people are dying, entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you can talk about is money and fairytales of eternal economic growth. How dare you."
Greta Thunberg speaks at the UN climate summit: "You all come to us young people for hope? How dare you!"Read more: https://t.co/JDMyApr433 pic.twitter.com/3GwhwEuUWTSeptember 23, 2019
It's reported that President Trump only spent 15 minutes at the summit, and completely ignored Thunberg. (There's a GIF to prove it.) Yet her speech immediately went viral, garnering support from people like Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA). And much like her plea to save our planet, the reactions are incredibly powerful...even if the president doesn't have one.
Watch every second of this speech. @GretaThunberg is the epitome of courage. Thank you for speaking truth to power. https://t.co/iR38ulK3AFSeptember 23, 2019
.@GretaThunberg is right: we are currently failing our nation's youth by not taking swift action to combat the climate crisis. We owe it to them to stand up to polluters and stop poisoning our planet.pic.twitter.com/coGN5JQOmASeptember 23, 2019
holy shit. https://t.co/phh3yJ2xtQSeptember 23, 2019
Greta Thunberg, at 16 years old, has more courage and moral clarity on climate change than an entire room full of world leaders. The science is clear. Her anger is justified. If we do not act now to protect our planet, the consequences will be dire. https://t.co/q8zk39seKASeptember 23, 2019
The world has found its shero, and her name is @GretaThunberg. #howdareyou pic.twitter.com/x1ivMd0oA9September 23, 2019
The image of Trump, a grown man, swaggering into UN climate summit, swinging his arms & throwing his weight around, in stark contrast to a dignified 16 yr old Greta Thunberg standing behind him, but with a strength that puts him to shame, is a reminder of how wrong this all is.September 23, 2019
A photo posted by on
A photo posted by on
Yesterday at the UN Climate Action Summit, Greta Thunberg gave an impassioned speech challenging world leaders to stop failing future generations and act on climate change. pic.twitter.com/6apIHynEFWSeptember 24, 2019
Watch Thunberg's full speech, below, and find out how you can participate in your local climate strike here.
For more stories like this, including celebrity news, beauty and fashion advice, savvy political commentary, and fascinating features, sign up for the Marie Claire newsletter.
Stay In The Know
Marie Claire email subscribers get intel on fashion and beauty trends, hot-off-the-press celebrity news, and more. Sign up here.
Rachel Epstein is a writer, editor, and content strategist based in New York City. Most recently, she was the Managing Editor at Coveteur, where she oversaw the site’s day-to-day editorial operations. Previously, she was an editor at Marie Claire, where she wrote and edited culture, politics, and lifestyle stories ranging from op-eds to profiles to ambitious packages. She also launched and managed the site’s virtual book club, #ReadWithMC. Offline, she’s likely watching a Heat game or finding a new coffee shop.
Natalie Portman Is a Jackie O. Lookalike in Dior's Front Row
She stepped right back into wardrobe for her Oscar-nominated character.
By Melony Forcier
Zendaya Can't Stop Name-Dropping Tom Holland on the 'Dune: Part Two' Press Tour
They're way past the hard launch.
By Fleurine Tideman
A Grammy Isn't Tyla's Only Major First This Year
She's starring (and dancing) in her first fashion campaign.
By Halie LeSavage
36 Ways Women Still Aren't Equal to Men
It's just one of the many ways women still aren't equal to men.
By Brooke Knappenberger
How New York's First Female Governor Plans to Fight for Women If Reelected
Kathy Hochul twice came to power because men resigned amid sexual harassment scandals. Here, how she's leading differently.
By Emily Tisch Sussman
Why the 2022 Midterm Elections Are So Critical
As we blaze through a highly charged midterm election season, Swing Left Executive Director Yasmin Radjy highlights rising stars who are fighting for women’s rights.
By Tanya Benedicto Klich
Tammy Duckworth: 'I’m Mad as Hell' About the Lack of Federal Action on Gun Safety
The Illinois Senator won't let the memory of the Highland Park shooting just fade away.
By Sen. Tammy Duckworth
Roe Is Gone. We Have to Keep Fighting.
Democracy always offers a path forward even when we feel thrust into the past.
By Beth Silvers and Sarah Stewart Holland, hosts of Pantsuit Politics Podcast
The Supreme Court's Mississippi Abortion Rights Case: What to Know
The case could threaten Roe v. Wade.
By Megan DiTrolio
Sex Trafficking Victims Are Being Punished. A New Law Could Change That.
Victims of sexual abuse are quietly criminalized. Sara's Law protects kids that fight back.
By Dr. Devin J. Buckley and Erin Regan
My Family and I Live in Navajo Nation. We Don't Have Access to Clean Running Water
"They say that the United States is one of the wealthiest countries in the world. Why are citizens still living with no access to clean water?"
By Amanda L. As Told To Rachel Epstein