Greta Thunberg has called out “lying” political leaders on stage at Glastonbury, saying that dishonesty in public office has not “only become socially acceptable” but something the public expects.
She told revellers at the festival that they face a battle against “the forces of greed” if they want to prevent a “total natural catastrophe” caused by climate change.
She said that the climate crisis is “not the new normal” and will only get worse. However she insisted that “we can still avoid the worse consequences” of climate change.
“Together we can do the seemingly impossible,” she said.
Posting on Twitter this morning, Thunberg put out a teaser for her address, saying: “I’m excited to announce that today I will be on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury 5.15pm. See you there!”
— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) June 25, 2022
Addressing the vibrant crowd of Glastonbury attendees, she said: “We are in the beginning of a climate and ecological emergency. This is not the new normal, this crisis will continue to get worse... until we prioritise people and planet over profits and greed.”
The activist said that “we have been lied to, we have been deprived of our rights as democratic citizens and been left unaware” of the true scale of the climate crisis.
She added that “we need immediate drastic emissions reductions” and “we need to make fundamental changes to our societies”.
Ms Thunberg continued: “The forces of greed and profit and planetary destruction are so powerful that our fight for the natural world is limited to a desperate struggle to avoid a total natural catastrophe.
“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 then do the exact opposite.”
She accused world leaders of “actively creating loopholes” which benefited destructive industries. She said that they could “claim to be climate leaders while at the same time expand their nation’s fossil fuel infrastructure”.
“They can say we are in a climate emergency as they open up new coal mines, new oil fields, and new pipe lines. It has not only become socially acceptable for our leaders to lie, it is more or less what we expect them to do,” she said.
Her bold speech comes ahead of the publication of her latest project, The Climate Book, which is set to hit the shelves on 27 October this year.
Billed as a “holistic overview of the true state of the planet and an essential tool for everyone who wants to help save it”, the book sees more than 100 scientists, communicators and activists weigh in on the climate, ecological and sustainability crises.
The 19-year-old has followed in the footsteps of British broadcasting giant and naturalist David Attenborough, who made a surprise appearance on the Pyramid Stage in 2019.
His slot introduced a four-minute extended trailer for the BBC series Seven Worlds, One Planet, which drew huge cheers from festival-goers.
Thunberg also joins the likes of former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who in 2017 addressed a crowd before a set by US rap duo Run the Jewels.