Stars, they're just like us, right? That includes the opinions, beef, and occasionally, perfectly thrown shade. So when I say that climate activism superstar Greta Thunberg had quite a reaction to Donald Trump when the two crossed paths at the United Nations, what I mean is that this is a moment you'll understand on a deep, personal level.
Thunberg, the Swedish teen activist who has become the international face of the fight against climate change, was at the United Nations headquarters in New York City on Monday, Sept. 23, to deliver a climate change speech to the assembled leaders during the 2019 U.N. General Assembly. In the powerful speech at the U.N. Climate Action Summit, she called out international leaders who, she said, had dropped the ball on addressing the dangerous warming of the planet and left her generation to pick up the pieces. "This is all wrong. I shouldn't be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean, yet you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you?" she asked rhetorically. "You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words."
Although she didn't call out any leaders or countries by name, she didn't necessarily have to. Shortly after her speech, a video clip showing Thunberg literally crossing paths with U.S. President Donald Trump started circulating the internet, and let's just say, a picture (video) really is worth a thousand words.
If looks really could kill, Trump would be in some real trouble.
It's no surprise that Thunberg, who has made headlines for her passionate and prophetic advocacy about the climate crisis' threat to young generations, might not feel too kindly towards Trump. In its two and a half years, the Trump administration has positioned itself firmly against action on climate change, starting with the United States' withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord in June 2017. The 2015 international accord of nearly 200 countries, entered into by President Barack Obama, was designed to limit the planet's warming and laid out goals for the United States and other countries to substantially reduce carbon emissions. "As of today, the United States will cease all implementation of the non-binding Paris Accord and the draconian financial and economic burdens the agreement imposes on our country," Trump said in his June 1, 2017, announcement that the United States would leave the agreement.
From there, things have gone troublingly downhill for the administration when it comes to addressing climate change. As of September 2019, the administration has worked on rolling back at least 85 environmental regulations, per The New York Times, including loosening regulations on clean water, weakening habitat protections for imperiled animals, and even changing up efficiency standards for lightbulbs.
Meanwhile, the threat of climate change is increasing exponentially — a United Nations report released in October 2018 found that the world only had about 12 years left to limit climate change before it was too late, and pointed out the increased risks of major natural disasters such as wildfires, food shortages, and stronger storms in a changing climate.
So it's probably not surprising that some people really, really related to Thunberg's intense look of disdain directed at Trump.
But never let it be said that Thunberg is all show, either. Also on Sept. 23, Thunberg, accompanied by 15 other children from nations around the world, filed a complaint accusing five major economies — Germany, France, Brazil, Argentina and Turkey — of violating their rights under the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child by failing to address climate change. "The message that we want to send is that we've had enough," Thunberg said in a press conference that day, per CNN. Elite Daily has reached out to representatives of each of the five countries for comment, but did not immediately hear back.
Climate change may be looming over our collective heads, but the world's youth isn't letting it happen without a fight. The kids are all right, after all.