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Speaking at a rally in Charlotte, N.C., Friday, Swedish teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg shut down a heckler who tried to interrupt her speech.
“I think if you want to speak with me personally, maybe you can do it later,” Thunberg said before the crowd erupted, chanting her first name.
The 16-year-old, who has been traveling around North America to raise awareness about climate change, was imploring fellow youth leaders to speak out in the fight against global warming when she paused as someone near the stage tried to speak over her.
“It can be hard in times like these to find hope, I can tell you,” Thunberg said before the interruption. “And I can tell you I have not found much hope in politicians and corporations. It is the people who are now our greatest source of hope.
“While we young people may not be able to vote or make decisions today, we have something just as powerful,” she said. “And that is our voices. And we need to use them.”
As she had in previous speeches, Thunberg chastised adults for their inaction on fighting climate change.
“It is we young people who are the future,” she continued. “There is not enough time to wait for us to grow up and become the ones in charge because we need to tackle the climate and ecological emergency right now.”
“If the adults and people in power are too immature to realize that, then we need to let them know,” Thunberg added. “Change is coming whether you like it or not.”
For more than a year, Thunberg has been attending Friday climate rallies in cities around the world. In September, she attended the United Nations climate summit in New York City, delivering an angry and impassioned speech denouncing world leaders for failing to do more to combat climate change.
“This is all wrong,” Thunberg said. “I shouldn’t be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean, yet you come to us young people for hope. How dare you.”
The speech at the U.N. drew the attention of President Trump, who mocked the teen in a tweet.
“She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future,” Trump wrote. “So nice to see!”
Thunberg responded by changing her Twitter bio to read: “A very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future.”
In an interview with Yahoo News in Iowa in September, Thunberg said powerful men like Trump “want to silence” young climate activists like her.
“They can sense that we are making an impact,” she said. “They obviously don’t want that. So they are using several methods to mock and hate.”
Last week, Thunberg told Ellen DeGeneres she wouldn’t want to meet with Trump even if given the opportunity.
“I don’t understand why I would do that,” Thunberg said. “I don’t see what I could tell him that he hasn’t already heard. And I just think it would be a waste of time, really.”
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