Teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg said she didn’t understand why grown-ups and world leaders would mock children and teens for acting on science, and that she took their jibes as a ‘compliment’.
Thunberg made the comments while responding to a question at a news conference ahead of a ‘Fridays for Future’ climate march in Montreal on Friday, as part of a second wave of global eco protests.
Initial turnout estimates of the Montreal protest stretched to half a million people, organisers said.
When asked about U.S. President Donald Trump and others who have mocked her, the 16-year-old activist said they likely feel their world view and interests are being threatened by the climate activism of herself and others.
‘That we should take as compliment that we are having so much impact that people want to silence us,’ she said at a rally in Montreal after meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. ‘We’ve become too loud for people to handle so people want to silence us.’
The youth climate movement has drawn criticism from some who accuse the students of overreacting and say they would be better off going to school. In an apparent sarcastic jibe at Thunberg this week following her haranguing of world leaders, Trump tweeted: ‘She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!’
Instead of addressing Trump by name, Thunberg said Friday that she didn’t ‘understand why grown-ups would choose to mock children and teenagers for just communicating and acting on the science when they could do something good instead.’
The latest round of protests, which builds on last week’s marches by millions of children around the world, rolled through Asia and Europe and culminated in a rally in Montreal, Canada, where Greta spoke.
Led by Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg (centre), young protesters take part in a mass climate change rally in Montreal on Friday
Young activists and their supporters rally for action on climate change in Montreal, Canada, on September 27
A young climate change protester sits on top of her parents’ shoulders amid a mass protest in Montreal on Friday
Young activists rally in central Montreal as part of the second global wave of ‘Fridays for Future’ eco protests
Thousands of protesters flooded the streets of Montreal, Canada during the global climate strike on September 27
The event is part of the school strike for climate movement, inspired by Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg
A man in costume plays the guitar at mass climate protest in Montreal on Friday
The teenage activist spoke at a press conference in Montreal while hundreds of thousands around the world took to the streets inspired by her message
She received a gift from Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde before joining the climate strike march
Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets Swedish climate change activist Greta Thunberg before a climate strike march in Montreal, Quebec
She added during the press conference that President Trudeau is ‘not doing enough’ and sent a message to all politicians to ‘just listen to the science and act on the science’.
Thunberg met with Trudeau earlier in the day, who praised her activism on climate change.
‘She is the voice of a generation, of young people who are calling on their leaders to do more and do better,’ Trudeau said. ‘And I am listening.’
Trudeau, who is in the middle of an election campaign, announced a plan to plant 2 billion trees over the next decade.
Thunberg, however, indicated that she expects more, even of leaders who welcome the movement. Scientists this week issued new dire warnings about the consequences of rising temperatures on the world’s oceans and cold regions.
The eco-activist told the crowd in Montreal it was moving to see people of all generations so passionate for a cause.
Trudeau alongside other prominent figures turned out for the Montreal march, including Green Party Leader Elizabeth May and Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante.
Thunberg, who is credited with inspiring the school strikes, this week lambasted world leaders for a lack of climate change policies at the United Nations Climate Action summit in New York.
In New Zealand, scores of protests were held in towns and cities across the country with students carrying signs including ‘We’re skipping our lessons, so we can teach you one’ and ‘You can’t comb over climate change’.
Organiser School Strike for Climate NZ tweeted that it had received credible reports that 170,000 people were striking nationwide, a figure that would represent 3.5% of the country’s population.
Tens of thousands of activists took to the streets of New Zealand’s capital Wellington earlier today as a second weekend of climate protests got underway before spreading around the world
Dozens of extinction rebellion activists stage a ‘die-in’ protest in Brisbane, Australia, as part of global protests over government inaction to tackle climate change
A protester in Seoul holds a sign featuring teen activist Greta Thunberg and a quote from her blistering speech to the UN, alongside the faces of Donald Trump and South Korean leader Moon Jae-in
Spanish actor Javier Bardem joins marchers in San Sebastian, Spain, on Friday as marches take place around the world for the second weekend in a row over climate change
Students demonstrate during a worldwide protest demanding action on climate change in Rome,
Students, activists and demonstrators take part in worldwide climate strike action in Lausanne, western Switzerland
Activists of Extinction Rebellion take part in a Global Climate Strike in the Israeli coastal city of Tel Aviv
Protesters march with a ‘Make Love not CO2’ sign during the Global Climate Strike organized by ‘Fridays For Future Hungary’
Mesi Kissaniitty’s (left) sign reads ‘Save the planet’ and Ranja Omaheimo’s sign reads ‘I’m afraid’ as they take part in the Global Climate Strike at the Parliament House in Helsinki, Finland
Greenpeace activists hold slogans placards reading ‘Climate strike’, ‘Forests are burning’, ‘Cut the lungs’ during the Global Strike for Climate rally, in Moscow, Russia
Students hold posters during a rally organized on the theme of Global Strike for Climate Change in McLeod Ganj, near Dharamsala, in India
Local media put the crowd in the capital of Wellington, where students were delivering a petition to the national parliament calling on the government to declare a climate emergency, at around 40,000.
Organisers in the capital were forced to change their security plans to accommodate the crowds, possibly the largest protest in the country’s history, while thousands more marched in Auckland and other parts of the country.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who is in New York at the climate summit, on Thursday announced she had support from four other countries for a proposed new trade agreement to combat climate change.
Ardern said negotiations would begin with Norway, Iceland, Costa Rica and Fiji early next year, adding that she hoped other nations would sign on.
Demonstrators holding posters and placard march during a Global Strike for Climate rally in Yangon, Myanmar
Schoolchildren, students and activists attend a protest march to call for action against climate change, in the Netherlands
A young demonstrator holds up a poster reading ‘Plastic away – it’s rubbish’ during a Fridays for Future rally that is part of a Global Climate Strike on September 27, 2019 in Berlin
Students holding placards take part in the Global Climate Strike in Kathmandu, Nepal
School students and activists take part in the Global Strike for Climate rally outside of the City Hall in Malmo, Sweden
Demonstrators march on Chain Bridge across River Danube in Budapest following the call of Fridays For Future Hungary and Extinction Rebellion Hungary
Students demonstrate during a worldwide protest demanding action on climate change in Milan
School students and activists take part in the Global Strike for Climate rally in Venice, Italy
Thousands of people gather near Parliament to protest about the impacts of climate change in Wellington, New Zealand, on Friday as a second weekend of marches got underway
Climate change activists march down Queen Street in Auckland, New Zealand’s most populous city, on Friday September 27
Climate change supporters march down Queen Street to Quay Street on September 27, 2019 in Auckland, New Zealand
A pregnant activist with a message on her belly protests in front of Parliament during a climate strike march in Wellington
A member of a Climate activist group puts her fake oil-covered hands on the glass Pyramid at the Louvre museum in Paris
New Zealand protesters were again ready to counter arguments that they should be in school, instead of out on the streets protesting.
‘My education doesn’t matter if I have no future or if I have no land,’ Elizabeth Glassie, a protestor in Auckland, told Radio New Zealand.
About 500 students in the South Korean capital, Seoul, urged more government action to address climate change, marching towards the presidential Blue House after a downtown rally, where they said the government gets an ‘F’ in climate action.
‘I believe government action will change only if the voice of young people are heard because we’re the ones … who are going to be the greatest victims of a climate crisis,’ 15-year-old Kim Do-hyeon, who was one of the organisers, said.
Students in Rome, Italy, carry magazines bearing the face of the climate activist Greta Thunberg during the global school strike
In Lausanne, Switzerland, activists inspired by lyrics from pop star Lizzo’s hit Truth Hurts, wrote they were ‘terrified’ for their future
Students scale a statue in Milan during the day of strikes taking place in cities across the world inspired by Greta Thunberg’s weekly protests
In Rome, the activists missed school to wave placards on the sunny streets which said, ‘You have broken our lungs’
On the other side of the planet, more than 100,000 rallied in Italy’s capital Rome, where protesters held up signs with slogans such as ‘Change the system, not the climate’ or just the word ‘Future’.
Marches took place in about 180 locations across Italy, including the financial hub of Milan where one banner read ‘How dare you!’ – the accusation Greta, 16, levelled at world leaders during her UN speech in New York on Monday.
The Italian Education Ministry said students attending the event would not be penalised for missing school.
Fears about the impact of global warming on the younger generation were expressed by schoolchildren in Dharmsala, India. South Asia depends heavily on water from the Himalayan glaciers that are under threat from climate change.
In Berlin, activists from the Fridays for Future group braved persistent rain to protest against a package the German government recently agreed for cutting the country’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Experts say the proposal falls far short of what is needed if the world’s sixth biggest emitter is to meet the goal of the Paris climate accord.
In Milan, thousands took to the streets waving banners saying, ‘Mummy what have you done?’ and ‘I am the solution’
Leo Korhonen (centre) and classmates from Koskela school take part in the Global Climate Strike at the Parliament House in Helsinki, Finland
In Lausanne, young activists stand behind a large yellow banner which reads: ‘Fed up of cars, take the bus!’
Thousands of demonstrators turned up to the Parliament House in Finland to protest climate change and call for greater action on the issue
In Turin, school students stand behind a banner with an Extinction Rebellion sign which says: ‘Let’s change the system, not the climate’
South Korean students in Seoul built a mock earth and brought chairs and blackboards to the streets for their protest today
In Turin, school students skipped school to protest on the streets waving placards which said, ‘The oceans are rising and so are we’
Tibetan school children carry posters during an awareness march in Dharmsala, India, today as part of a worldwide demonstration
Actor Javier Bardem joined dozens of young people in San Sebastian in one of several early demonstrations and rallies held across Spain on Friday morning, ahead of evening demonstrations in major towns and cities. They are expected to draw big crowds, especially in Madrid and Barcelona.
Bardem was in San Sebastian to promote a documentary he worked on with Greenpeace.
Greta said she planned to attend a protest in Montreal.
‘New Zealand leading the way into Friday nr 2 in #WeekForFuture,’ she tweeted. ‘Good luck everyone striking around the world. Change is coming!!’
In Wellington, 18-year-old university student Katherine Rivers said it was great to see young people taking action and personal responsibility by marching.
In Milan, school students and activists burned a model of the earth to highlight how climate change is warming the planet
In Trafalgar Square, London, protesters at the Rally for the Imagination saw young activists carrying placards warning of climate danger
A demonstrator was arrested in Lausanne, Switzerland, during the day of action which took place around the world
A woman takes part in the Global Strike for Climate rally in Mumbai, India, today, demanding for political action on climate issues
Climate activists pass the Trump International Hotel in Washington DC behind a banner which reads, ‘Capitalism is killing the planet’
Thousands of school students and activists take part in the Global Strike for Climate rally in Vienna, Austria
Indian vegans painted themselves like the earth from head to foot and held a banner which read: ‘Fight climate change with diet change. Go vegan!’
Many of the activists brought homemade comical placards and banners such as these students in London who said: ‘The world is hotter than Shawn Mendes’
‘We need to stop pandering to some of the people who are making money off climate change. The big oil companies, the dairy industry etc,’ she said. ‘And make a change for the future of these kids that are here.’
While thousands of high school students elected to take time off school to protest, many adults also joined the marches. One of them was 83-year-old grandmother-of-three Violet McIntosh, who said: ‘It’s not my future we’re thinking about’, adding that it was time politicians listened to young people like Greta.
In the Netherlands, where thousands joined a protest in The Hague, some participants acknowledged that getting politicians to take action against global warming is only part of the story.
‘It’s also about then leading sustainable lives and making changes to make your life more sustainable,’ said Utrecht University student Beth Meadows.
German government spokesman Steffen Seibert said part of the government’s plan is to encourage citizens to shift their behaviour.
‘People, and businesses too, know that over the coming years, step by step, behaviour that harms the climate (and) causes a lot of emissions will have a higher price than before,’ he told reporters in Berlin.
In Lisbon, a protester changes Donald Trump’s election-winning campaign slogan to say: ‘Make our planet great again’
Schoolchildren stood at the base of Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square, London, to protest government inaction on the environment
Nepali youth activists hold placards as they take part in the ‘Friday for Future’ global protests in Kathmandu today
Millions of people across the world are taking part in the demonstrations today including at a rally in Mumbai, India
In Stockholm, where Greta Thunberg started the school strikes for climate last year, a protester held a placard which read: ‘Earth is hotter than my boyfriend and he is HOT’