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IOWA CITY, Iowa – The adults are still failing kids, Greta Thunberg told thousands of Iowans Friday.
"We teenagers and children shouldn't have to take the responsibility." the teenage climate activists said. "But right now the world leaders keep acting like children, and somebody needs to be the adult in the room."
Thunberg drove to Iowa City on Friday in a Tesla to lend a hand to the local teens waging their own climate strikes.
Her message to her peers in the Midwest was one of distrust and motivation. The 16-year-old, fresh off a damning speech at the United Nations, said Iowans cannot expect global leaders to take action to stop the flow of carbon dioxide emissions causing global warming.
They, too, must act.
"We will not beg world leaders to care and to act," she said. "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 16-year-old Swede said she sees a tipping point. More and more people around the world are becoming activists.
"Together, we are unstoppable," she said.
Thunberg traveled to the United States in August on a sailboat to reduce emissions. In September she delivered a biting speech to world leaders at the United Nations in New York.
"This is all wrong," she told the assembly. "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!"
Thunberg gained international attention in 2018, when she started a one-women protest outside of the Swedish parliament building in Stockholm. Every Friday she held a sign reading "School Strike For Climate."
Since then, as many as 4 million people, inspired by Thunberg, have held their own climate strikes across the globe.
In Iowa City, what started as a small weekly sit-in led by a middle school student resulted in both the local school district and the city government amending their climate action plans and making them more aggressive. Now, they are calling for the University of Iowa to do the same and say they will not stop until it does so.
Here is a full transcript of what Greta Thunberg had to say in Iowa City Friday:
I'm incredibly proud and honored to be here in Iowa City and in beautiful Iowa with all of you — and it's just so many people. I don't think any one of us expected this many people.
Special thank you to the organizers and the strikers who have been striking Friday after Friday not giving up: Shoshie (Hemley), Esti (Brady), Yardley (Whaylen), Diego (Biggers), Alex (Howe), Massimo (Biggers) and everyone else. Thank you. I think every one of us owe you a great--we owe you so much. You have really done so much for everyone of us. And we realize we are on indigenous Ioway land, the land Sioux and Meskwaki. We thank Dawson Davenport and all the Meskwaki people here with us today.
This is the real hope. So many people gathering here on a weekday with such a short notice.
This is real hope to me. Last week and the week before that well over 7 million people joined the climate strikes. Over 7 million people in more than 180 countries. That is not something you can continue to ignore. We told world leaders to act on the science and we demanded a safe future for us and for everyone. But they didn't listen. As we all know the human climate action summit was a faliure. That was unfortunately what we had expected. To stand behind and speak the science is still too uncomfortable for them. That needs to change.
No matter what, we need to continue. No matter how hopeless this situation may seem like, we must always carry on. We must never allow ourselves to give up. That is simply not an option.
We teenagers and children shouldn't have to take the responsibility, but right now the world leaders keep acting like children and somebody needs to be the adult in the room.
We promise we will go on every Friday for as long as it takes and the next Global Climate Strike is on November 29. But of course, we strike every week. And we have to prepare ourselves to go on for a very long time. For years. But that will not stop us. We have reached a tipping point where enough people have had enough. Together we are unstoppable.
And we will not beg world leaders to care and to act. 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.
Because the world is waking up and we are the change and change is coming whether they like it or not.
Thank you once again and have a great day. Continue and never give up.
This article originally appeared on Iowa City Press-Citizen: Greta Thunberg drives Tesla to Iowa to join student-led climate strike