Swedish climate activist and Nobel Prize nominee Greta Thunberg today (Monday) urged everyone to listen to scientists and face the crisis of climate change. She was welcomed to Friends House by young Quakers, with Pearl (Redland Meeting) and Sam (Frenchay Meeting) taking to the main platform to give the introductory greeting.
Quakers in Britain hosted the event targeting the imminent climate emergency.
Speaking to a packed and lively audience in Friends House, London, Greta Thunberg said:
“Why should we study for a future when we have our future taken from us? Why should we go to school to learn facts when facts don’t seem to matter?”
She was asked how she deals with those who deny climate change. “I don’t,” she said simply.
The audience hung on Greta’s every word. The 16 year old is a global figure yet she said it was not about her. “This is a movement, not an organisation. We don’t have titles. I am not a leader, just a part of the movement. No-one is irreplaceable.”
Anna Taylor from the UK Student Climate Network said it was not about being party political but the government must change its priorities.
Caroline Lucas MP implored everyone to put people and planet before profit. She said:
“We need more truth and honesty. We can see what is happening and we need to act. Sea levels are not the only thing that is rising, we are rising too. Greta has shown what action looks like.”
Afterwards, reflecting on a week which has seen record numbers of climate activists arrested, including Quakers, for their part in direct action, Paul Parker, Recording Clerk of Quakers in Britain, said: “We uphold all those in the climate movement who are impelled by conscience to break the law to avert this disaster. We recognise the urgent need for people of all faiths and none to stand up for climate justice and urgent action.
“We do not own the world, and its riches are not ours to dispose of at will. Quakers in Britain are committed to becoming a low-carbon, sustainable community. We know that our privileged lifestyles contribute to the problem of climate change, even though the impacts may be most strongly felt elsewhere in the world. Many Quakers and Quaker meetings have made changes to reduce their impact on the environment, but there is much more which can be done. Direct action is needed to create pressure for change.
“For climate breakdown to be averted, however, requires more than changing our personal behaviour. Governments and businesses must show bold leadership. Quakers in Britain call on our government to take urgent, far-reaching steps to end the UK’s contribution to climate breakdown.
“Limiting global temperature rises to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels requires bold actions to match the UK’s promises in the Paris treaty. The response so far has been inadequate to the scale of this challenge. We can no longer ignore the need for change.”
Watch the event here
(opens video in a new window)
The young friends from Bristol who were at the event gave the following feedback:
How young friends described the talk:
How young friends felt after the talk:
The trip made me:
Realise the full recourses of what we are doing and that recycling or buying pastic free products won’t change things in time. I felt inspired to hear Greta Thunberg, Caroline Lucas and Alice … speak so passionately.
Put the climate crisis as my priority, consider what I can do, connect with other like minded people
Want to help fight climate change
Feel united with other young Quakers/people
Think more deeply about what needs to be done
Emotional. Question my own beliefs, values and actions and think about changes I can make and how I can encourage others to implement change. Proud of the young quakers taking action.
Think more about climate change and how it affects our lives in different ways and how we should go on more marches to force people in power to change.
Reflect not only on the issue itself, but also the necessary solutions to overcome the issue. Also made me meet new people I otherwise never would have.
Think about small things that I can do in order to make a difference. It made me want to put pressure on government to enact more change in a top down, system change way
3 words to describe the trip:
Empowering inspring relvant
Inspiring Vital Mind opening
Fun striking pensive
Amazing, exciting, powerful
Inspiring incredible down to earth
Inspiring, overwhelming, amazing
Inspiring, enjoyable, thought provoking
Exciting interesting inspiring
Inspiring thought provoking inclusive
Exciting inspiring opportunity
Anything else you want to say:
We need to do more like this!
Thank you so much for this opportunity. These trips help restore my faith in Quaker Faith in Action.
Amazing trip – thank you!
Really good event – day worked really well – thank you!
A really exciting event it was completely thrilling to be given the opportunity to hear about these issues in real life, as well as being given the change to speak. Thank you!
feedback submitted by Kirsty Philbrick, Quaker Youth Development Worker