Swedish youth climate activist Greta Thunberg joined young protesters in Los Angeles on Friday to call for government leaders in the state and beyond to take swift action on climate change.
Hundreds of Angelenos ― many of them students who opted out of school to attend ― took to the streets for the protest, at which Thunberg spoke. Demonstrators were calling for California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) to stop new oil drilling.
“People are already suffering and dying from the climate and ecological emergency, and it will continue to get worse,” Thunberg, 16, said at the event. “Doesn’t this mean anything to the decision-makers? I will never understand how they can put short-term interests above human lives, above the planet itself and our very futures.”
Thunberg told the Los Angeles Times ahead of the school strike that the lack of meaningful political action on climate change is “just getting more and more absurd for every day that goes by without something real and drastic happening.”
“We should listen to the science that has been ignored for too long,” she told the newspaper. “We will have to be the voice for ourselves and future generations to make sure that the people will take the action required to prevent the worst consequences.”
The Kincade fire in Northern California’s Sonoma County, for example, now spans 77,000 acres. As a result, about 180,000 people were evacuated and utility PG&E cut electricity to more than 2 million people over the weekend. The outages and evacuations created a nightmare scenario for survivors of the 2017 Sonoma fires, and threatened the lives of many seniors with disabilities.
“Of course, wildfires are a natural part of the ecosystem here, but they are being intensified with the climate crisis and it will continue to get worse,” Thunberg told the Times.
In September, millions took to the streets around the world in a day of climate action led by Thunberg. The young activist has been traveling across the U.S. in recent months after arriving to New York on a zero-emissions boat.
After the upcoming United Nations climate change summit was relocated to Spain on Friday ― amid protests and political unrest in Chile, which was previously slated to host ― Thunberg expressed solidarity with “the people of Chile” and asked for help to cross the Atlantic again as sustainably as possible.
At the United Nations General Assembly in New York in September, Thunberg called out world leaders in an impassioned speech, accusing them of having “stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words.”
“I shouldn’t be standing here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean,” she said. “Yet you all come to me for hope? How dare you!”
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