Click to hear Greta with the band 1975.
DENVER – Today, 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg joined more than 3,200 climate strikers in Civic Center Park.
“Change is coming, whether you like it or not,” said Thunberg after acknowledging that the crowd stood on land that once belonged to the Arapahoe, the Cherokee and the Ute. “This is a movement with millions upon millions of people telling world leaders to act to act on the science and we are demanding a safe future for everyone. That is not something you can continue to ignore."
Click here to listen to why some folks showed up at Friday's event in Denver.
During her visit, Greta met with and stood alongside local indigenous, youth, and frontline community members who have been leading local strike efforts including the Sept. 20 strike which had over 7,500 participants.
Here's more info from the press release:
Greta followed a panel of youth activists, impacted community members and indigenous Womxn who answered questions from local youth. The panelists covered a variety of issues from feminine leadership in the climate movement to climate threats to the Coloradans.
Colorado’s youth organizers called for an end all fossil fuel expansion, a rapid and equitable transition to 100% renewable energy, and for fossil fuel companies to be held responsible for the damage they have caused. See full demands here.
Speakers and participants painted black and red handprints over their mouths to show solidarity for Missing and Murdered Indigenous, Black and Migrant Womxn and children. This action follows an art installation of hundreds of red and black dresses that were displayed on the 16th Street Mall during the Colorado Climate Strike Week of Action.
“We are here to correlate the issues of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and girls have long been a direct result of environmental exploitation and degradation. Large numbers of women go missing around factories, man camps, and truck stops around North America and there have been no policies changes to protect a vulnerable population invisible to the American identity,” said Renee Millard-Chacon of Womxn from the Mountain.
The event culminated with a silence of 1 minute 11 seconds, symbolizing the 11 years the most recent IPCC report gave world leaders to solve the climate crisis. Thousands stood solemnly in silence, representing the millions that are facing extreme danger and death due to fossil fuel infrastructure and climate impacts.
Greta joined strikers in Denver after 13-year-old Denver climate activist Haven Coleman reached out on social media. Greta joined Haven in Denver to celebrate the hard work of local activists and stand in solidarity with communities in Colorado suffering impacts from fossil fuel development and climate change, including those facing neighborhood fracking.
“Greta is amplifying the work that we, in Colorado, and as a community are putting in; we’re saying no new fossil fuel infrastructure and that we MUST highlight front-line communities. This is not about the photo op opportunity, this is not about me, it’s we,” said organizer Marlow Baines of Earth Guardians.
Event organizers include International Indigenous Youth Council, Fridays for Future, Earth Guardians, Sunrise Colorado, Youth Climate Strikes U.S., 350 Colorado, Greenpeace, Extinction Rebellion Denver, 350.org, Mothers Out Front and more.
Livestream and photos will be uploaded to 350 Colorado’s Facebook.
“I strike today to give back for the ones who walked before us, and for those who will walk after me. If it wasn’t for my ancestors fighting for me to be here today, I wouldn’t be able to fight for those who will walk after me.” -Micaela Iron Shell-Dominguez, International Indigenous Youth Council
“Greta is striking with us in Denver on Friday, but we are not focusing on her fame, we are focusing on the crisis that Colorado faces as a state. The oil and gas industry is failing our children and poisoning our air, and they are not stopping their quest for expansion. This Friday, we are not focusing on an ego boost, but a direct look at the issues we have at hand and elevating the black and brown youth voices whose voices are primarily overshadowed. We will not forget the missing and murdered indigenous women who have been affected by this climate crisis, and stand as a community, for a more just and sustainable world,” said Marlow Baines of Earth Guardians.
Jessica Abkarian, Sunrise Movement CO: “This movement is one in a million. This movement will never end, because the planet will always need advocates, and advocates will always need a planet with clean air and water. Unfortunately, our earth’s cries have fallen upon many deaf ears. The youth have gathered, and we hear her. Action is how we speak. We will speak until the government hears us.”
Ellory Boyd, Sunrise Movement CO: We are the young people who regularly miss school to show up here and demand that our elected officials both recognize the indisputable science of impending climate disaster and change our laws, our politics, and our priorities accordingly. We are often told that none of our actions will matter if we don’t vote. I want to make it clear that while it’s essential to vote once you are 18, your representatives have an obligation to listen to your voice, no matter your age. Speak out, show up, and take a stand.
“Adults in power, you have the chance to do the right thing and you won’t. Why do you tolerate lawless behavior and corruption? Why do you look away, lie, and act as if this is too big for you to take on? Because it’s not. You must act! Altering scientific testimony, playing take backs with regulations, rebuking scientists, and downplaying risks is appalling behavior. It’s beyond lame. It’s desperation and the end of freedom as we know it. Scientific consensus and integrity will not be bent to your political views. The world sees your transgressions and they will soon be unforgivable,” Haven Coleman Co-Executive Director Youth Climate Strikes U.S.
“We are excited that Greta will be joining us to recognize and stand alongside our amazing youth, frontline community members, and activists who have been spearheading the local strike efforts. Our voices grow stronger with each individual that joins the movement. We hope Greta’s voice added to ours will help wake Colorado leaders up to the need for bold climate action now,” said Julia Williams of 350 Colorado.