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Dublin: 7 °C Thursday 12 December, 2019
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'Greta is right to be angry': Mary Robinson says she was 'moved to tears' by Thunberg

Robinson was referring to Thunberg’s address at the Climate Action Summit in New York.

Robinson speaking at 2019 Michael Sweetman Memorial Lecture held at Iveagh House, St Stephen's Green
Robinson speaking at 2019 Michael Sweetman Memorial Lecture held at Iveagh House, St Stephen's Green
Image: Conor McCabe Photography

FORMER IRISH PRESIDENT Mary Robinson has said she was moved to tears recently by an impassioned speech of climate change activist Greta Thunberg.

“Listening to the anger in her voice, I was moved to tears. Because Greta is right to be angry,” Robinson said, referring to Thunberg’s recent address at the Climate Action Summit in New York. 

“The climate crisis is worse than we think, and it is getting worse more quickly than scientists had thought would happen. The good news is that we have at last woken up, and it is not too late because of changes that are taking place.”

Last month, Thunberg was visibly angry as she berated world leaders, accusing them of betraying her generation by failing to tackle greenhouse gas emissions.

“I shouldn’t be up here. I should be back at school on the other side of the ocean,” said the 16-year-old, who has become the global face of a growing youth movement against climate inaction that mobilised millions in a worldwide strike on Friday.

Source: Associated Press/YouTube

Robinson was speaking at the Michael Sweetman memorial lecture where she paid tribute to the late economist who was “so far ahead of his time”. 

“I know that Michael would have wanted Ireland to be a leader rather than a laggard on climate change…Now that Irish schoolchildren are joining millions of schoolchildren worldwide in striking for Fridays for Future, we are all becoming aware of the acute intergenerational injustice with which we are leading their future.”

Robinson went on to speak about the rise of women and young people in leadership, saying it is heartening to see women leaders stepping forward, school children striking and young people making their voices heard.

The importance of this growing climate justice movement is that it will call for a just solution to a world powered by clean energy, and climate actions that fully respect human rights. 

PastedImage-99120 Source: Twitter/European Movement Ireland

She encouraged the audience at Iveagh House in Dublin to “get angry with those who have more power, and therefore more responsibility” and to take action using their voice and their vote. 

Robinson said that “climate anxiety” can also be reduced by supporting organisations involved in conservation issues or climate change advocacy,

“We need a climate justice movement – speaking up for people who have the least capacity to protect themselves, their families, their homes and their incomes from the impacts of climate change, and indeed climate action policies that are not grounded in human rights. 

“We must prioritise the furthest behind first,” Robinson said. 

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Adam Daly

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