Greta Thunberg Says Friday Climate Strike Will Go on for 'As Long As It Takes' to Stir World Leaders Into Action

The international "school strike for the climate" movement will continue every Friday for "as long as it takes" to stir world leaders into action, Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg told a rally of thousands near Denver's state capitol building in Colorado, on Friday.

She said the next big global strike would take place on November 29, and that the movement would unfortunately have to prepare itself to go on for a "very long time."

"But that will not stop us. We are rising and we will not back down," the 16-year-old said to cheers from the crowd. "We will not beg the people in power to care and to act because they have ignored us in the past and they will ignore us again."

"We will instead tell them, that if they won't do it, then we will. The world is waking up and we are the change. And change is coming whether you like it or not," she added.

Thunberg began taking time off school on Fridays to protest outside the Swedish parliament in August 2018. These solitary strikes sparked a global movement, which now involves millions of people around the world calling for climate action.

"For well over a year, young people from all around the world have been striking from school every Friday demanding world leaders to take responsibility and to unite behind the science," Thunberg said. "They have not done that. The people in power continue to ignore us and to ignore the current best available science."

"How dare they," she said with several people in the crowd repeating the line back. "How dare they leave this for their own children to clean up the mess and solve. How dare they pretend that they are doing enough, but the politics needed are nowhere in sight. How dare they ignore the countless people all around the world who are suffering and dying today because of the climate and ecological crisis."

Thunberg noted that it was young people and future generations who would suffer most from the climate crisis and ecological breakdown. But she noted that political leaders were failing the world's youth because they were not mature enough to "tell it like it is."

"It should not be up to us to take the responsibility, but since the leaders are behaving like children, then we have no other choice," she said. "The older generations are failing us and the political leaders are failing us."

"But we will be watching and holding them accountable. We will make sure they will not get away with continuing like now. Because we as young people are tired of constantly being betrayed by those who are supposed to work for our greater good," she said.

Thunberg suggested that people have joined the movement because they care about the future, unlike political leaders who cannot see beyond the next election.

Despite the inaction of these leaders, she said there was still hope and that the future remains "in our hands." But to achieve real change the climate movement would have to do the "seemingly impossible."

"We didn't start school striking because we wanted to. We didn't do it because we wanted to gain attention or because it was fun. We did it because someone needs to do something. And that someone could be me or you or anyone in this crowd," she said. "You don't have to wait for someone else to do something. No one is too small to make a difference, never forget that."

"This is a movement with millions upon millions of people telling world leaders to act on the science and we are demanding a safe future for everyone. And that is not something you can continue to ignore," she said, recognizing that the rally was taking place on Indigenous land that belonged to the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes.

The Denver rally also featured other young climate activists, such as Madhvi Chittoor, 8, who has campaigned in Colorado against the use of plastics, The Associated Press reported.

Thunberg's latest speech came soon after appearances at rallies in Standing Rock Indian Reservation, North Dakota, and the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota. The activist also drew global attention last month after making an impassioned speech at the United Nations.

Thunberg has said that she will continue touring the Americas until a U.N. climate conference in December, which is being held in Chile.

Greta Thunberg
The crowd applauds Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg as she speaks at the Fridays For Future Denver Climate Strike on October 11, 2019 at Civic Center Park in Denver, Colorado. Thousands of protesters attended the event which was sparked by Thunberg's #FridaysForFuture movement. Marc Piscotty/Getty Images