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Swedish Climate Activist Greta Thunberg says it would be a 'Waste' to Meet Trump

August 13, 2019 - 9:01 am
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Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg will soon set sail on a solar-powered boat to attend a U.N. summit in New York. But when asked if she'd be open to meeting President Trump during her trip to America, Thunberg said it would be a "waste."

"Why should I waste time talking to him when he, of course, is not going to listen to me?" she said. 

If she had to rate the United States' climate change efforts, Thunberg said America would rank "not very high." Thunberg wants all governments to cut emissions in line with the Paris climate accord, which President Trump has rejected. And currently, the U.S. emits more carbon than any country other than China.

Thunberg hopes to change that. The Swedish 16-year-old, described by some as the "voice of the planet," will be sailing from Europe to New York to call on world leaders to protect the environment. The journey could take two weeks — but Thunberg said she doesn't fly because of the environmental impact of air travel. 

But although she leads a global youth movement and has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, Thunberg said she doesn't like all the attention.

"I am very, very introvert[ed] and shy, privately," she said.

Thunberg said having autism gives her the focus and determination to act. Her activism began with a solitary strike outside of Sweden's parliament last year — but now, she's far from alone. Her sisters, Sarah and Katie O'Callaghan, have skipped school to join her on weekly strikes.  

"Since we started the school striking, we became vegetarian," Sarah said. "We don't eat dairy." 

"We don't take the car as much," the girls added. "We cycle to school and take the train."

Critics dismiss Thunberg as alarmist, too young, and inexperienced. But she says her climate crusade must go on if her generation is to have a future.