Quakers host Greta Thunberg and support climate activists

Swedish climate activist and Nobel Prize nominee Greta Thunberg today urged everyone to listen to scientists and face the crisis of climate change. She was welcomed to Friends House by young Quakers.

Pearl and Sam welcome Greta
Pearl and Sam welcome Greta to Friends House (Photo: Anne van Staveren)

Quakers in Britain hosted the event targeting the imminent climate emergency.

Speaking to a packed and lively audience in Friends House, London, Greta Thunberg said: “Why should we study for a future when we have our future taken from us? Why should we go to school to learn facts when facts don't seem to matter?

She was asked how she deals with those who deny climate change. “I don't," she said simply.

The audience hung on Greta's every word. The 16 year old is a global figure yet she said it was not about her. “This is a movement, not an organisation. We don't have titles. I am not a leader, just a part of the movement. No-one is irreplaceable."

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Anna Taylor from the UK Student Climate Network said it was not about being party political but the government must change its priorities.


Why should we study for a future when we have our future taken from us? Why should we go to school to learn facts when facts don't seem to matter?

- Greta Thunberg


Caroline Lucas MP implored everyone to put people and planet before profit. “We need more truth and honesty. We can see what is happening and we need to act. Sea levels are not the only thing that is rising," she said. “We are rising too. Greta has shown what action looks like."

Afterwards, reflecting on a week which has seen record numbers of climate activists arrested, including Quakers, for their part in direct action, Paul Parker, Recording Clerk of Quakers in Britain, said: “We uphold all those in the climate movement who are impelled by conscience to break the law to avert this disaster. We recognise the urgent need for people of all faiths and none to stand up for climate justice and urgent action.

“We do not own the world, and its riches are not ours to dispose of at will. Quakers in Britain are committed to becoming a low-carbon, sustainable community. We know that our privileged lifestyles contribute to the problem of climate change, even though the impacts may be most strongly felt elsewhere in the world. Many Quakers and Quaker meetings have made changes to reduce their impact on the environment, but there is much more which can be done. Direct action is needed to create pressure for change.

“For climate breakdown to be averted, however, requires more than changing our personal behaviour. Governments and businesses must show bold leadership. Quakers in Britain call on our government to take urgent, far-reaching steps to end the UK's contribution to climate breakdown.

“Limiting global temperature rises to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels requires bold actions to match the UK's promises in the Paris treaty. The response so far has been inadequate to the scale of this challenge. We can no longer ignore the need for change."

Tomorrow, Tuesday, Greta Thunberg has a closed meeting in the House of Commons.

Ensure your MP hears Greta speak