Hundreds of people gathered in Denver’s Civic Center on Friday for a climate protest featuring teen climate activist Greta Thunberg, whose fiery remarks last month during the United Nations climate change conference made her an international hero.
Thunberg appeared around 1:45 p.m. to chants of “Greta! Greta!”
She responded, “We don’t strike cause it’s fun. We do it because someone needs to do something.”
Students such as Nina Doeble left classrooms to join protest. Doebele brought a sign that read, “I’ll stop skipping school when you stop skipping the climate pact.”
“Our generation is being affected by climate change so we’re the ones that have to live with it,” she said, adding, “Greta Thunberg is awesome.”
Nina Doebele is a 7th grader skipping school today to come to strike downtown. “Our generation is being affected by climate change so we’re the ones that have to live with it.” Also…”@GretaThunberg is awesome” pic.twitter.com/8TdA4NgpYY
— Sam Tabachnik (@sam_tabachnik) October 11, 2019
Thunberg quickly lambasted political leaders, who she and her peers say are not taking climate change seriously.
“Our political leaders are not mature enought to tell it like it is…So we, the youth, are going to do it for them,” she said.
Marlow Baines, Boulder-based Earth Guardians youth co-director, said between 10 and 20 Earth Guardians from both Boulder and Denver were on hand.
“It’s important for us to be here,” she said, shortly before the day’s events were underway.
“We have 11 years to act on climate change and as a youth organization. Our adults, they have done a little but, but it’s not enough and we may not have a future. The youth are showing up and are saying enough is enough and we must take action now… This is a crisis. This is a human rights crisis, and we need to face it.”
Thunberg has seen a stunning rise, from teenage activist protesting by herself outside the Swedish Parliament, to a global symbol for youth empowerment. Her “Fridays For Future” protests have spread to over 100 countries, inspiring a new generation of climate activists.
She was nominated — and considered the favorite — to win the Nobel Peace Prize, one of the youngest ever to be included as a finalist. On Friday, the committee awarded the prestigious prize to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.
Her emotional speech excoriating European Union leaders for their inaction on climate issues went viral, and President Donald Trump mocking Thunberg on Twitter elevated the Swedish teen into a household name.
Baines said she was glad Thunberg was at the Denver rally.
“Greta is here to amplify that we are one of the front-line communities for oil and gas extraction, which has poisoned our air and affected our communities’ health and wellbeing,” she said. “Our front-line communities need to be highlighted for the fact that we are saying enough is enough to oil and gas. and this expansion agenda cannot continue to move forward.”
Friday’s protest comes on the heals of a Sept. 20 climate strike which brought over 7,500 participants to Denver, including legions of students walking out of class to bring attention to the need for action on climate change.
Camera Staff Writer Charlie Brennan contributed to this report.