“The world is waking up, and change is coming, whether you like it or not,” said an impassioned Greta Thunberg Monday morning at the United Nations Climate Summit, where she railed against politicians who would avoid properly addressing climate change. Thunberg’s appearance at the U.N. comes days after she walked alongside tens of thousands of marchers in New York City–and an estimated 4 million worldwide–during the Global Climate Strike last Friday. As students from across the city rallied in Lower Manhattan, Interview took to the streets to ask what they have to say to those in power about the climate crisis. The kids, it seems, are far from alright.
“With no trees, we don’t have clean oxygen. Duh.”
“Even if the climate crisis isn’t going to affect you for much longer, you’re leaving this earth for your children. We’re going to suffer because of your mistakes. So, what is wrong with the people in power who think that they can just leave us with their garbage to clean up?”
“I think you have to realize what impact this has on the planet. You can’t blatantly ignore something that clearly has a long term impact. It’s ignorance.”
“It’s pretty evident that there is a climate crisis, and I don’t know how anyone can deny it. Pushing it under the rug, saying that it doesn’t exist, and erasing it is dangerous.”
“I have a little bit of faith in humanity. So I’m really hoping it clicks soon, and we do something. Don’t we have scientists or something? We can already make clones right now, why can’t we make an alternative plastic or things like that? They [people in power] need to open their eyes soon. I really hope they don’t open their eyes when we start seeing the sky turn grey. That would just be too late.”
“Ignorance isn’t an answer anymore. I feel like a lot of people keep saying ‘We’ll do something later’ and they keep pushing back on it because they want to make more profit. But there is barely any time anymore. We should really stop using fossil fuels and start using renewable energy to help save this planet.”
“I’m too young to die. And I don’t want our planet to be ruined.”
“I want the next generation to live in a good world. Not in a world where we have to move to a different planet.”
“Honestly, I came to the protest with fire in my heart and guns blazing—I was ready to just cuss somebody out. But now that I think about it I’m trying to be a lot more compassionate. So I’d genuinely ask for them, even if there’s a smidgen of doubt in your heart, that if they really genuinely think that climate change is real, look into it! Because we’re experiencing it now. No one is listening and that’s the problem. I read an article that we have 11 years left in order to do at least something about climate change and reverse our carbon footprint before the world starts to inevitably turn for the worse. We have such a limited time window left. It’s becoming a race against time now. We’re desperate for someone to listen to us. That’s why we’re here—we need some sort of help. If we don’t have anyone in power vouching for us and fighting for us then all of this is just in vain.”
“I really still wanna live on this earth because I want to tell my kids one day, or my grandchildren, ‘Hey, we saved the earth!’ I don’t want to tell them, ‘Hey, did you know there’s a planet called Earth and we used to live there?'”
“You can deny it, but it is happening and really needs to change. I want a future and so do other people. I think today is really great and we get a voice, and it is really inspirational to see all the people who do support the movement.”
“I would like to say that this is science and you can’t deny science. Even though it seems like it’s too late to turn back, there are things that we can do every day, big and little, and it will make a huge difference in the end.”
“They will die with us [laughs]. They’re choosing to ignore a very important problem. There’s a lot of people here that get it—a lot of kids—which is important because we are the future.