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The Westfield Voice

The Westfield Voice

Greta Thunberg Warns UN World Leaders of a Coming Mass Extinction due to Climate Change


NEW YORK- “People are suffering, people are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing, we are in the beginning of a mass extinction and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!” Greta Thunberg held back tears while accosting the leaders of the world.

On September 23, sixteen-year-old Greta Thunberg of Sweden spoke before the United Nations to warn of the coming mass extinction due to climate change. 

Thunberg got her start in activism only a year ago when she left school to protest the Swedish parliament. Joined by other like-minded students, she began a “school climate strike” which garnered global support after her first speech to the UN climate council in 2018. 

“I want to feel safe. How can I feel safe when I know we are in the greatest crisis in human history?” Thunberg said in an interview with Swedish news outlet Svenska Dagbladet. 

This August, in protest of the massive environmental impact that airplanes have, Thunberg sailed from the UK to New York City on a “zero emissions” boat. She then appeared on the Daily Show with Trevor Noah, among other news outlets, to bring her message to the country. 

“The Greta Effect,” as Noah called it, is the idea that people in Europe are riding more trains, taking fewer unnecessary flights and overall being more conscious of their choice of transport since Thunberg began her crusade. Thunberg’s own mother even changed careers, from an opera singer to an actress in musical theater so she would have to travel by plane less often. 

Thunberg has stated on multiple occasions that 200 species go extinct every day. The science behind this statistic is debatable. While The Huffington Post agrees with her, scientists at Yale point out that only 800 species have ever been documented at going extinct in the last 400 years. 

The problem with getting solid numbers on this is the vast majority of animals and plants in the world are yet to be discovered. It’s a mathematical model of those theoretical species we haven’t found yet that says 200 species go extinct per day. 

Therefore, it can be a hard sell to climate change deniers, the drive to protect invisible, never before discovered species from extinction. However, the exact number of species going extinct per day isn’t the problem.

As Thunberg is apt to point out, we are in the midst of the 6th major mass extinction in Earth’s History. According to The Washington Post, 97 percent of actively publishing scientists agree anthropomorphic (or human-caused) climate change is the culprit. 

The best-case scenario the United Nations has offered would only give, according to Thunberg, a 50-50 chance of the Earth staying below the 1.5-degree tipping point climate scientists warn against. To her, those odds are not good enough. 

She chided the world leaders for continuing business as usual after they were already given an ultimatum of 420 Gigatons of CO2 left to release into the atmosphere by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change back in 2018. The world now only has 8 years of “business as usual” left if they continue at this rate. 

Thunberg ended her speech with a warning to all those world leaders still under the impression that they can continue to exploit the environment for economic gain. “We will not let you get away with this. Right here, right now is where we draw the line. The world is waking up, and change is coming whether you like it or not.”

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