Greta Thunberg tells Glastonbury crowds to 'stand their ground' in fight against climate crisis

The 19-year-old environment activist took to the Pyramid Stage and said "we are in the beginning of a climate and ecological emergency"

Published Last updated

Greta Thunberg has called on society to take on its “historic responsibility to set things right” with the global climate crisis during her speech at Glastonbury.

Speaking from the Pyramid Stage, the 19-year-old environment activist told the crowd she feels there is still hope for the world to choose a path which is “sustainable” and “leads to a future for everyone”.

Ms Thunberg opened her speech with a stark warning of the current climate situation, saying: “We are in the beginning of a climate and ecological emergency. But the biosphere is not just changing, it is destabilising, it is breaking down.

Greta Thunberg speaking on the Pyramid Stage
Greta Thunberg speaking on the Pyramid Stage

“The delicately balanced natural patterns and cycles that are a vital part of the systems that sustain life on earth as we know it are being disrupted, and the consequences could be catastrophic.

“And no, unfortunately, this is not the new normal. This crisis will continue to get worse until we manage to hold the constant destruction of our life-supporting systems, until we prioritise people and planet over profit and greed.”

The activist referenced the rise in CO2 emissions and how “fundamental changes to our societies” were required if the targets of the Paris Agreement were to be met.

Climate activist Greta Thunberg
Climate activist Greta Thunberg

Addressing the actions taken by global leaders, Ms Thunberg said: “World leaders have been very busy. They have actively created loopholes and benefited the industries of destructive industries.”

She said she feels society has come to “expect” world leaders to lie, adding: “We should be fighting for people and for nature, but instead we are fighting against those who are set on destroying it.

“Today our political leaders are allowed to say one thing and do the exact opposite. They can claim to be climate leaders, while at the same time expand their nation’s fossil fuel infrastructure.”

The crowd listens to climate activist Greta Thunberg
The crowd listens to climate activist Greta Thunberg

However, the climate activist said the situation is not without hope, adding that she feels there is still time to choose a path which is “sustainable” and “leads to a future for everyone”.

The teenager said: “Instead of looking for hope, start creating that hope yourself. We are approaching a precipice, and I would strongly suggest that all of those who have not yet been greenwashed out of our senses stand our ground.

“Do not let them drag us another inch closer to the edge, not one inch. Right here and right now is where we stand our ground.”

Addressing the thousands of festival-goers in the crowd, Ms Thunberg said: “You and I have been given the historic responsibility to set things right.

“We have the unfathomable great opportunity to be alive at the most decisive time in human history. The time has come for us all to tell the story and perhaps even change the ending.

“Together we can still avoid the worst consequences and start to heal the wounds that we have inflicted.

“Together we can do the seemingly impossible. But make no mistake, no-one else is going to do this for us. This is up to us here and now. You and me.”

She finished her speech by leading chants where she said “climate” and got the crowd to respond back by saying “justice”.

Following her speech, Erin Rudkin, a 32-year-old from Manchester, said you could tell the Glastonbury audience was captivated by the speech as you could “hear a pin drop” in the crowd.

She told the PA news agency: “I hope that she can really resonate with a lot of people, that there is some more change off the back of what she has just said because everything she just said is absolutely true.”

Social worker Steve Bradshaw, 40, told PA he feels that Ms Thunberg, who has Asperger’s, is an “incredible role model for the neurodiverse community”.

He added that her comments on climate change are “incredibly empowering” and that it is “important that more people are talking about” the topic.

Ms Thunberg’s speech was followed by a set by pop rock band Haim, with Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds taking to the Pyramid Stage after them.