Sweden’s 16-year-old activist Greta Thunberg on Tuesday said that United States President Donald Trump’s opinions on climate change are “so extreme” that it has triggered people to take action.
In an interview with AFP, Thunberg said: “He’s so extreme and he says so extreme things, so I think people wake up by that in a way.” The activist made the remarks the day she left North America, where she spent the last three months after arriving in New York on a boat on August 28 to deliver a speech at the United Nations climate summit.
“I thought when he [Trump] got elected, now people will finally, now people must finally wake up,” she said. “Because it feels like if we just continue like now, nothing’s going to happen. So maybe he is helping.”
Thunberg set sail early on Wednesday on the boat of an Australian couple, Elayna Carausu and Riley Whitelum, who had responded to her call for help with an environmentally-friendly trip. They will be travelling to Portugal (5,500 km away) to take part in the COP 25 United Nations climate summit in Madrid, Spain. The event will be held between December 2 and December 13.
The Swedish activist, who started a worldwide movement with her “Fridays For Future” initiative, asked Americans to vote as she left the country. “My message to the Americans is the same as to everyone – that is to unite behind the science and to act on the science,” she said, according to The Guardian. “We must realise this is a crisis, and we must do what we can now to spread awareness about this and to put pressure on the people in power.” The presidential elections in the United States are slated for late 2020.
Thunberg also spoke about the viral video clip from the United Nations climate summit that showed her glaring at Trump. “I wondered why he was there because the thing was that he was not supposed to be there,” she told AFP. “That was the news. So something must have changed his mind so that he showed up there.”
Last month, Thunberg rejected the Nordic Council environmental prize saying that the climate movement needed people in power to “listen” to “science” and “not any more prizes”. She thanked the council for the award, but added that Nordic countries were not living up to their “great reputation” on climate problems.
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