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How dare you

Dimitris Vohaitis
Journalist
Toronto/Canada

Montreal- Sept 28, 2019

“You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words.”

Greta Thunberg, the 16 year old Swedish environment activist, was the reason why Montreal was the largest Friday’s world environment march on Friday September 27, 2019. More than 500.000 people walked the city surpassing by far the first estimation of 300.000 people on Climate Day Action. It was for sure that the numbers would be high only if one could be there by 10:00am and watch the coming of the people. The most remarkable fact though is that youth gave the pulse by outnumbering the adult presence.

Climate Acton Day, Photo: Pooyan Tabatabaei

Her intelligence, dedication and achievement of awakening the need of environmental changes have left behind political promises and “useless” international treaties. The encounters and outspokenness she has, prove mostly the agonies of her generation by arising the need for immediate actions. It is a de facto need to search out and improve our children’s future in a world we have allowed profits and power to become the first and only achievements of living. Her characteristic quote […] “I want you to act as if the house is on fire, because it is[1].” […] includes this agony of a generation with a questionable future to which we have passed the baton to.

Dimitris Vohaitis being interviewed by German TV. Montreal, Climate Acton Day, Photo: Pooyan Tabatabaei

The presence of the young Swedish activist wrote history for the city and the country. Her attendance is what actually sparkled the hundreds of thousands people to be in the streets of the city making Montreal by far the largest Friday march in the world. Her politeness and smile are outstanding but she has no barriers when she talks to political leaders. She definitely is raw. Greta proves that politicians and national representatives in international forums need a different, loud, clear and direct saying from what they, or even we, know. The opening of her speech at the UN Summit for Climate Change in New York is characteristic.

Greta Thunberg, Climate Action Day March in Montreal, NVP Images/ Pooyan Tabatabaei

“My message is that we’ll be watching you. This is all wrong. I shouldn’t be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you!

You have stolen my dreams and 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 fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you![2]” […].

Justin Trudeau and Greta met for fifteen minutes ahead the Montreal’s march. We do not know what they talked about but Canada’s PM promised her that if he will be re-elected two billion trees will be planted. The teenage activist answered him that he is not doing enough. She also told us that her answer is the same for all the political leaders she meets.The last event of the day took place at the City Hall of Montreal. At 6:00pm the Mayor of Montreal, Valérie Plante, rewarded the Swedish high school student with the key of the City. This move makes Greta Thunberg the first person to receive the city’s key from Montreal’s Mayor during her days in the office.

Greta Thunberg, Climate Action Day March in Montreal, NVP Images/ Pooyan Tabatabaei

Greta is also a zero-emissions yacht sailor who travels the world so she will not use airplanes as the carbon monoxide emissions they release are huge. Last week she was nominated the Right Livelihood Award, also known as the Alternative Nobel Prize. Additionally, in March three Norwegian MP’s proposed her as a nominee for the Peace Nobel Prize. If she will receive it she will be the youngest ever nominated receiver.


[1] World Economic Forum, Davos, 24 January 2019.

[2] Opening of her delivered speech to the UN Climate Action Summit 2019 in New York on Monday, September 23, 2019.

Greta Thunberg, Climate Action Day March in Montreal, NVP Images/ Pooyan Tabatabaei

 


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