Speaking at the European Parliament yesterday (Tuesday) ahead of crucial European elections, 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg told MEP’s to act on climate change like they have Notre Dame cathedral.
Greta Thunberg told the parliament’s environment committee she hoped Paris’ cathedral would be rebuilt with “strong foundations” but voiced fears that foundations to address climate change would not be as strong – and eluded to our planet as a “house on fire”.
“If our house was falling apart, our leaders wouldn’t go on like the way they do today [in tackling climate change]. You would change everything you do.
“A great number of politicians have told me that panic never leads to anything good, but when your house is on fire, then that does require some level of panic,” she added.
The Swedish teenager and pioneer of the #FridaysForFuture movement – urging young people to school strike to combat change – has inspired a progressive movement to urge the next generation to care about the climate.
Her campaigning has also earned her a Nobel Peace Prize nomination having been put forward by three Norwegian MPs who acknowledged her significant efforts.
Speaking to AFP news, Norwegian MP Freddy Andrew Ovstegard spoke highly of Greta stating she had “launched a mass movement which I see as a major contribution to peace” and added the risks if no action is taken on the crisis.
“We have proposed Greta Thunberg because if we do nothing to halt climate change, it will be the cause of wars, conflict and refugees”.
The movement she sparked has spread globally with over 1.4 million people striking last month, seen in 125 countries across all continents.
Having been diagnosed with Asperger’s four years ago, she uses this as her driving force because she “can’t” let some things go.
“I overthink. Some people can just let things go, but I can’t, especially if there’s something that worries me or makes me sad,” she told the Guardian.
And her passion began when she was younger where teachers showed her class films of plastic in the ocean and animals suffering because of the changing climate and then realised she was different from her classmates.
She said: “I cried through all the movies. My classmates were concerned when they watched the film, but when it stopped, they started thinking about other things. I couldn’t do that. Those pictures were stuck in my head.”
Now several years later, Greta has called for people to switch to “cathedral mode” in how they respond to the climate crisis.
Over 400 firemen and women were needed to put out the fire that engulfed Notre Dame’s roof and spire of more than 800-years and since the blaze, more than 700 million euros have been donated for the cathedral’s restoration.
The Swedish teen said if such a response was directed at the environment and people listened to the evidence behind the science that there would be considerable change.
It is thought that global temperatures could rise by 1.5 degrees centigrade by 2030 if greenhouse gas emissions continue at their current rate, according to the United Nations, and is a temperature that scientists believe the planet cannot cope with without experiencing crushing effects of climate change.
As Greta addressed MEPs she fought to hold back tears and stated by 2030 the world would have set off a “chain reaction that will probably bring the end of our civilisation as we now know it” and begged the parliament to support the next generation.
“You need to vote for us, for your children and grandchildren. You vote for the future living conditions of mankind,” she explained, “You cannot ignore the scientists of the science, I beg you please do not fail on this.”