"You need to vote for us, for your children and grandchildren."
Climate change activist Greta Thunberg has addressed the European Parliament’s environment committee to tell them to use “cathedral-thinking” when it comes to tackling climate change.
At one point during an impassioned speech, 16-year-old Thunberg became visibly upset when she listed how humans were causing “climate economical breakdown”, such as deforestation, air pollution, the extinction of animals and the acidification of oceans.
She then accused world leaders of being too relaxed in tackling global warming, saying she wants leaders to evoke the same level of panic as if their house were on fire.
“A great number of politicians have told me that panic never leads to anything good, but when your house is on fire, then that does require some level of panic,” she said.
"But when your house is on fire and you want to keep your house from burning to the ground, then that does require some level of panic."
Referring to the fire that destroyed the main roof and spire of the Notre Dame cathedral earlier this week, Thunberg said that “Notre Dame will be rebuilt, I hope its foundations are strong, I hope that our foundations are even stronger, but I fear they are not.”
"If our house was falling apart, our leaders wouldn’t go on like the way they do today [in tackling climate change]. You would change everything you do."
Thunberg continued to criticise EU leaders for flying internationally in business class, or for not phasing out coal immediately.
“You wouldn’t hold three emergency Brexit summits and no emergency summit regarding the breakdown of the climate and environment,” she told MEPs.
"You wouldn’t be celebrating that one single nation like Ireland may soon divest from fossil fuels…. It’s 30 years too late for those types of celebrations.
“If our house was falling apart the media wouldn’t be talking about anything else. You wouldn’t spend all your time arguing about taxes or Brexit. Well, our house is falling apart.”
At 16, she admitted that although she, herself, is too young to vote in the upcoming European elections, she believed that people need to “unite behind the science”.
"You need to vote for us, for your children and grandchildren. You vote for the future living conditions of mankind.
“You cannot ignore the scientists or the science, I beg you please do not fail on this.”