Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, 16, walks along the quayside to board an electric-powered rib, before traveling to board the Malizia II IMOCA class sailing yacht off the coast of Plymouth, southwest England, on Aug. 14, 2019. Thunberg is sailing to New York where she will attend the UN Climate Action Summit next month.
Staring through a swarm of photographers and television crews, self-described introvert Greta Thunberg took the stage at a Swiss university last week, NBC News reports, to pointedly reiterate a message that has captured the attention of leaders and like-minded young women around the globe: The world must take drastic action now to avert ecological and civilizational collapse.
“We know that our future is at risk,” the small, soft-spoken 16-year-old Swede tells journalists at the start of a weeklong youth summit at the University of Lausanne. “We would love to go back to school and continue with our everyday lives, but as crucial as this situation is, as serious as this situation is, we feel like we must do something about this now.”
Thunberg — whose central point is that humanity must immediately reduce greenhouse gas emissions that have unrelentingly increased since the start of the industrial revolution, resulting in global warming — is the driving force behind a movement that has seen more than 2 million teens around the world take part in Fridays for Future school strikes against climate change.
On Wednesday, she set off from Britain’s shores on a monthslong journey — she is sailing to avoid flying — that will take her to a U.N. summit on climate change in New York in September, and the COP25 conference in Santiago, Chile, in December.