Greta Thunberg: Our house is on fire. I am here to say our house is on fire.

According to the IPCC, we are less than twelve years away from not being able to undo our mis­takes. In that time, unprece­dent­ed changes in all aspects of soci­ety need to have tak­en place, includ­ing a reduc­tion of our CO2 emis­sions by at least 50%.

And please note that those num­bers do not include the aspect of equi­ty, which is absolute­ly nec­es­sary to make the Paris Agreement work on a glob­al scale, nor does it include tip­ping points or feed­back loops like the extreme[ly] pow­er­ful methane gas released from the thaw­ing Arctic per­mafrost.

At places like Davos, peo­ple like to tell suc­cess sto­ries. But their finan­cial suc­cess has come with an unthink­able price tag. And on cli­mate change, we have to acknowl­edge that we have failed. All polit­i­cal move­ments in their present form have done so, and the media has failed to cre­ate broad pub­lic aware­ness. But Homo sapi­ens have not yet failed.

Yes, we are fail­ing but there is still time to turn every­thing around. We can still fix this. We still have every­thing in our own hands. But unless we rec­og­nize the over­all fail­ures of our cur­rent sys­tems we most prob­a­bly don’t stand a chance.

We are fac­ing a dis­as­ter of unspo­ken suf­fer­ings for enor­mous amounts of peo­ple. And now is not the time for speak­ing polite­ly or focus­ing on what we can or can­not say. Now is the time to speak clear­ly.

Solving the cli­mate cri­sis is the great­est and most com­plex chal­lenge that Homo sapi­ens have ever faced. The main solu­tion, how­ev­er, is so sim­ple that even a small child can under­stand it. We have to stop our emis­sions of green­house gas­es. And either we do that or we don’t.

You say noth­ing in life is black or white, but that is a lie. A very dan­ger­ous lie. Either we pre­vent a 1.5 degree of warm­ing or we don’t. Either we avoid set­ting off that irre­versible chain reac­tion beyond human con­trol or we don’t. Either we choose to go on as a civ­i­liza­tion or we don’t. That is as black or white as it gets. There are no gray areas when it comes to sur­vival.

We all have a choice. We can cre­ate trans­for­ma­tion­al action that will safe­guard the future liv­ing con­di­tions for humankind. Or we can con­tin­ue with our busi­ness as usu­al, and fail. That is up to you and me.

Some say that we should not engage in activism. Instead we should leave every­thing to our politi­cians and just vote for change instead. But what do we do when there is no polit­i­cal will? What do we do when the pol­i­tics need­ed are nowhere in sight? Here in Davos, just like every­where else, every­one is talk­ing about mon­ey. It seems that mon­ey and growth are our only main con­cerns. And since the cli­mate cri­sis is a cri­sis that has nev­er once been treat­ed as a cri­sis, peo­ple are sim­ply not aware of the full con­se­quences on our every­day life. People are not aware that there is such a thing as a car­bon bud­get, and just how incred­i­bly small that remain­ing car­bon bud­get is. And that needs to change today.

No oth­er cur­rent chal­lenge can match the impor­tance of estab­lish­ing a wide pub­lic aware­ness and under­stand­ing of our rapidly‐disappearing car­bon bud­get that should and must become a new glob­al cur­ren­cy and the very heart of future and present eco­nom­ics.

We are now at a time in his­to­ry where every­one with any insight of the cli­mate cri­sis that threat­ens our civ­i­liza­tion and the entire bios­phere must speak out in clear lan­guage, no mat­ter how uncom­fort­able and unprof­itable that may be. We must change almost every­thing in our cur­rent soci­eties. The big­ger your car­bon foot­print is, the big­ger your moral duty. The big­ger your plat­form, the big­ger your respon­si­bil­i­ty.

Adults keep say­ing, We owe it to the young peo­ple to give them hope.” But I don’t want your hope. I don’t want you to be hope­ful. I want you to pan­ic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. And then I want you to act. I want you to act as you would in a cri­sis. I want you to act as if the house was on fire. Because it is.


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