The following text is from speeches and conversations at today’s climate strike in Denver. It was edited for length by Andy Bosselman.
“This is real hope,” said 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg. “This what we are seeing right now, is real hope.” …
“It is we young people and future generations who are going to suffer the most from the climate and ecological crisis. It should not be up to us to take the responsibility, but since the leaders are behaving like children, we have no other choice. The older generations are failing us. And the political leaders are failing us. But we will be watching and holding them accountable.” …
“As young people, we are tired of constantly being betrayed by those who are supposed to work for our greater good. We are here because we care about the future, about what we one day will leave after us. And the political leaders cannot seem to see past the next election. And that needs to come to an end.”
“Young people from around the world have been striking every Friday, demanding world leaders to take responsibility and to unite behind the science,” Thunberg continued. “They have not done that. The people in power continue to ignore us and to ignore the best available science.”
“How dare they. How dare they pretend they’re doing enough. When the politics needed are still nowhere in sight, how dare they ignore the countless people who are suffering and dying today because of climate and ecological crisis. And the ecosystems that are being destroyed.”
“They are indeed not mature enough to tell it like it is, so we will do it for them. We still have this in our hands, but to do our best is no longer good enough. We all need to do the seemingly impossible.”
“We must prepare ourselves to go on for a very long time,” said Thunberg. “But that will not stop us.”
“We are rising and we will not back down. We will not beg the people in power to care and to act. Because they have ignored us in the past and they will ignore us again.”
“We will instead tell them that if they won’t do it then we will. The world is waking up and we are the change. And change is coming whether you like it or not.”
“To the adults in power. You have the chance to do the right thing but you won’t,” said Haven Coleman, 13, who started often solitary climate strikes on Fridays in front of the Colorado Capitol when she was 10.
“You need to understand that we’re striking to protect our future. The future that you want us to have. One that you were guaranteed. The one that we were falsely promised. Your inaction requries our reaction. Our therapy is the fight. Let us do this.”
“Let me ask you this. Why do other people’s children not matter to you? Why do you only care about your own child getting ahead? Your character is showing and it is not pretty.”
“Your mind is obsessed with property rights and accumulations. At the expense of many. Economic success that helps you today is what hurts and kills people.” …
“You have failed. We have a right to a livable planet.”
“What will it take for you to act on behalf of all the world’s children? What will it take? Uncomfortable is supposed to be sat with, not hidden from view. Sit with this. What will it take?”
“The future you are setting us up for is bounded and bleak. Invest in us all now.”
“Some of us activists are trapped as symbols … Please, our hard work does not absolve you of action. We cannot do it all. You need to step up and step in.”
“Where were you when the chance to make a difference called? You’re here now. Step up.”
“Climate change, it’s really important that we stop it,” said Cece Harper after Thunberg’s speech. “The adults did this to us. It’s not fair to us.”
Sophie Vavase had a message for elected officials, too.
“We gotta make a change,” she said. “Keep fossil fuels in the ground. There’s a lot of things that we’ve been talking about and nobody’s doing anything. And they need to start.”
“Climate change is a problem that needs to be dealt with,” Said Mico Jackson, 16, a student at 5280 High School. To elected officials, he said: “Listen to the people.”
“I’m getting to the point where I’m thinking about children, said Erica Sasselli, 26, of Denver. “With where things are with climate and politics, it doesn’t seem fair to have children and bring them into this world.”
“I’m scared for my own future,” she said. “It seems hopeless right now.”
When students from Littleton High School’s Eco Club were asked if they had a message for Gov. Polis, Lucy Chase, who was holding a painting she made of Greta Thunberg, spoke up.
“I agree with Greta. The adults aren’t doing enough,” she said. “You can make fake claims and fake promises. But I don’t see anyone besides young kids and older adults out here today. We care about this.”
“I express a lot of my views about things through art. This is an art project I did about Greta. There’s a lot of empty promises coming and we want to see them fulfilled.”
Streetsblog California editor Melanie Curry has been thinking about transportation, and how to improve conditions for bicyclists, since her early days commuting by bike to UCLA long ago. She was Managing Editor at the East Bay Express, and edited Access Magazine for the University of California Transportation Center. She also earned her Masters in City Planning from UC Berkeley.
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