During her book launch just one week before the 27th United Nations Climate Change Conference (also known as the Conference of Parties, or COP), 19-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg denounced world leaders and emphasized the impossibility that the world could successfully address the climate crisis in a capitalist system
In a speech and interview given at the book launch on Sunday, October 30, Greta moved into what The Telegraph considers “political waters,” saying that rather than simply holding leaders and their existing systems accountable, we need to look at the oppressive nature of capitalism.
In her opening speech she said, “‘We are never going back to normal again because normal was already a crisis. What we refer to as ‘normal’ is an extreme system built on exploitation of people and planet. It is a system defined by colonialism, imperialism, oppression, and genocide by the so-called global north to accumulate wealth that still shapes our current world order.” She continued: “Some people say that the system is now malfunctioning, but that is not true. The system is doing exactly what it is meant to be doing. If economic growth is our only priority, then what we are experiencing now should be exactly what we should be expecting.”
As activists like Greta Thunberg continue fighting for a brighter future globally, it is no surprise that their efforts against climate disruption are now encompassing a critique and analysis of the economic, political, and social systems that define our society. “To solve this problem, we first need to understand it, and to understand the fact that the problem itself is by definition a series of interconnected problems. It is a symptom of a much larger crisis, the sustainability crisis.” In other words, capitalism.
Greta said she will not be attending COP27, and explained “the COPs are not really meant to change the whole system,” she continued, “unless of, course we use them as an opportunity to mobilize, which we must try to do.”
She ended her book launch with, “things might not move in the right direction for us, but that is not an excuse to despair. Despair is a privilege, because for us, having the option of doing something means that we have privilege, and if we have a privilege, we need to use it.” Greta is aware that her words and actions alone will not be able to address these structural barriers – it will take massive organizations and movements. We should all be inspired by Greta’s dedication and unwavering fight for a better future for all of us – imagine what it could look like if each of us took her words to heart!