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“We Are Facing a Global Emergency”: Greta Thunberg Arrives Back in Europe to Attend Climate Talks

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From Stockholm, Sweden, we’re covering the 40th anniversary of the Right Livelihood Awards, widely known as the “Alternative Nobel Prize.” This year’s recipients include 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, who arrived Tuesday in Lisbon, Portugal, after traveling for three weeks across the Atlantic in the 48-foot catamaran La Vagabonde, refusing to fly because of the high carbon footprint of air travel. Thunberg was on her way to attend COP25 in Santiago, Chile, when the conference was abruptly relocated due to mass demonstrations against a proposed subway fare hike. She sounded a rallying cry to fellow youth climate activists as she made landfall in Lisbon, promising to ensure that young people have a seat at the table at the upcoming climate summit in Madrid. “We will continue to make sure within those walls the voices of the people … especially from the Global South, are being heard,” she says.

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: You’ve been listening to the news conference that’s being held as Greta Thunberg has made her way to Lisbon, Portugal. We’re going now to return to that news conference, which Greta will be addressing.

NIKKI HENDERSON: I hope that we all, in whatever way we can, whether it’s sailing across the Atlantic, looking after your child, traveling around America, researching — however you want to do it, I hope that by working together, we can do it in a much easier and better way.

CLIMATE ACTIVIST: Now, Greta Thunberg.

GRETA THUNBERG: Well, first of all, thank you, everyone, so much for coming here and for welcoming us. That feels very — it feels very good, doesn’t it, to be welcomed in such a way? So thank you so much. And, of course, thank you to Elayna, Riley, Lenny and Nikki for making this possible. And I owe you so much and just thank you. And thank you, everyone else who has been helping us, for making this possible. And it feels — I am so grateful for having done this trip and for having this experience. And I am so honored to be here in beautiful Lisbon in Portugal. And thank you so much for having us here.

And also, after a trip like this, for being isolated three weeks, for being in such a limited space with such limited things to do, you get very relaxed in a way. You are disconnected from everything and everyone, basically. And for coming into land, it is so overwhelming. So, I think we, all of us, are still a bit overwhelmed, so you will have to bear with us. And especially having all these people greeting you, it feels amazing, but our brains are not used to it yet.

And it feels so amazing to be home back in Europe. I have been on quite an adventure. And we’ve all been on quite an adventure. And it feels good to be back. And, of course, I, as well as the other climate activists, we will not stop. We will continue to do whatever we can, continue to travel around and to put pressure on people in power and to make sure that they put their prioritize — that they prioritize this highest.

And then, eventually, we will be going to COP25 in Madrid, and we will continue the fight there to make sure that within those walls the voices of the people are being heard and that the voices of the future generations are being heard and that the voices from the people, especially from the Global South, are being heard.

And I don’t have much to say, just that we are facing a global emergency, and we need to see it from a holistic point of view, and we need to do everything we can. We need to work together to make sure that we secure future living conditions for humankind and that we fight for not only ourselves, but for our children and for our grandchildren and for every single living being on Earth. And everyone has to do everything they can in order to make sure they are on the right side of history, because in order to change everything, we need everyone. And I hope every one of you will get active and start fighting for your future, as well.

And once again, thank you to these people, to Riley, Lenny, Elayna and Nikki, for doing this. This trip has been — this trip has been great. Actually, I think we needed some relaxing time, all of us, especially me, some time to sort of think everything through and to relax. And now I feel good. I feel like I want to continue now. I feel energized.

AMY GOODMAN: That’s Greta Thunberg speaking from Lisbon, Portugal, where she has just made landfall after a three-week catamaran journey with her dad and another family aboard La Vagabonde. This is live television, and we’re broadcasting from Stockholm, Sweden, where Greta began her climate strike. We’re on television. We’re on radio. We’re on the internet at And I welcome you and your friends and family to join us on this journey, as we are here in Stockholm, Sweden, where Greta began her climate strike more than a year ago. She will be winning the Right Livelihood Award tomorrow here in Stockholm. But instead of her being here, other of her sister and fellow students will be receiving the award. We want to thank Ell Jarl, who is a school striker, part of Fridays for Future Sweden, who will be receiving that award here in Sweden while Greta makes her way to Madrid for the U.N. climate summit.

When we come back, today is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. We’ll speak with the Ethiopian disability rights lawyer Yetnebersh Nigussie, who received the Right Livelihood Award in 2017. She’s been blind since the age of 5. Stay with us.

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Next story from this daily show

Meet Yetnebersh Nigussie: A Blind Ethiopian Lawyer Fighting for Global Disability Rights

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