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Youth activist, Greta Thunberg gets preview of UNHQ ahead of climate summit

The Swedish teenage climate activist, Greta Thunberg (centre), joined by other young people outside the United Nations in New York on 30 August 2019.
The Swedish teenage climate activist, Greta Thunberg (centre), joined by other young people outside the United Nations in New York on 30 August 2019. Credit: UN Photo/ Manuel Elias

Two days after disembarking from her carbon-free yacht in New York, teen climate activist Greta Thunberg paid a visit to UN Headquarters on Friday, after joining participants of her global climate strike movement, Fridays for Future, at the Organization’s gates.

The 16-year-old and two other teens got a preview of the UN General Assembly Hall, where the 193 Member States gather every year to discuss a wide array of international issues, and where Greta is scheduled to speak during the Secretary-General’s Climate Action Summit next month.

The Swedish youth activist was greeted by General Assembly President, María Fernanda Espinosa, who tweeted: 

Welcome, Greta Thunberg and climate activists to the UN in New York. Your determination for climate action has shaken the world and we join you in holding leaders accountable. "Science, not Silence" #ClimateActionNow.

She also received praise from UN Secretary-General António Guterres in a Twitter message:

“I’m far from New York, but I’m happy to know that young people came to the UN once again to express their commitment in the fight against climate change. I encourage them to keep pushing for stronger #ClimateAction.”

Ms. Thunberg, who sailed from Europe to curb carbon emissions from air travel, will attend UN climate summits in New York in September, and in Santiago, Chile, in December.

Her 60-foot Malizia II racing yacht, equipped with solar panels and underwater turbines for electric power, docked in New York City on Wednesday, where she was welcomed by a flotilla of  17 sailboats, each representing one of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The young environmental advocate has gained media attention since waging a "school strike" for climate action last August.

At just 15, she stood alone outside of Swedish Parliament in demonstration, calling for drastic change. Since, other impassioned youth have followed her lead and skipped school for the cause.

"I would love not to have to do this and just go to school," Ms. Thunberg told journalists upon arriving onto dry land, "but...I want to make a difference."

First ever youth climate summit

On 21 September 2019 the first ever UN Youth Climate Summit will be convened in New York, providing a platform for young climate leaders to take the global stage and engage directly with decision-makers on this issue. Three Caribbean youth activists – Khadija Usher of Belize, Dainalyn Swaby of Jamaica and Mareeka Dookie of Trinidad and Tobago – will be among 100 ‘Green Ticket’ winners at the Summit.

Young people are encouraged to participate in the My Future Our Planet campaign by sharing a selfie video on Twitter or Instagram declaring what actions they are already taking to fight climate change and asking their leaders to take climate action now. They can also continue to make choices that have less harmful effects on the environment and track these efforts through the UN’s #ActNow campaign.





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