Greta Thunberg’s speeches have been the major catalyst in her rise into public consciousness.
From her very first talk at a concert in Stockholm in 2018 through to presenting at the European Parliament, UK Parliament, French National Assembly, US Congress, World Economic Forum, and the United Nations. Not to mention addressing the largest climate rallies in history.
Bold, striking, unrelenting. Greta’s speeches told like it is. The reality of climate change.
The future generation speaking with the current generation. Telling them to stop the empty promises, start listening to science, and to get on with fixing the problem.
In this post, we’ve gathered the best of Greta Thunberg’s speeches – here as videos. We’ve also included links to transcripts of the speeches so you can see them as text.
In a separate post, we’ve put together a compilation of ‘Best Greta Thunberg Quotes’. (It contains the outstanding lines from Greta’s speeches.)
There’s now also a documentary film about her. You can read our review and watch the trailer in our ‘I Am Greta’ film review.
(The film follows Greta from her very first solitary climate strike to speaking at the UN in New York. It shows clips of her putting together some of her famous speeches and what was going on in her life during her rise in public awareness from humble beginnings in August 2018 to global icon by September 2019.)
An intro to Greta Thunberg’s speeches
If you want a shortcut, here’s a 2-minute introduction to her speeches –
Greta Thunberg’s speeches – a timeline summary
Greta’s first talks were in Stockholm in September 2018. In these small climate rallies, you’ll see the makings of what was to come. They came about after her initial ‘Strike for Climate’ sit-in outside the Swedish Parliament – which she started on 20 August 2018.
For a short while she flew under the popular radar, even after a remarkable TED Talk in November of 2018.
A major turning point was her speech at the UN Climate Change Conference in December 2018. Only solidified by her talk shortly after at the World Economic Forum in January 2019.
Here was a teenager, someone who was going inherit the outcomes of these meetings, giving a blunt and damning assessment of where things were at and what those delegates were actually doing about it. Those rebukes went viral on the internet. Awareness of Greta and her message went from there.
She was asked to speak in some of the major seats of power in the Western world – parliaments at the European Union, France, the UK, and the US. All in the space of a year. And was unrelenting at each opportunity.
Our compilation covers that period – her rise from the first talks in September 2018 – through to March 2020 (which was her second coming to the European Parliament.)
But let’s start at the beginning – those early speeches. She was 15 years old. They are still among her best.
Climate Strike Concert, Stockholm, September 8, 2018
‘Our Lives Are In Your Hands’ Greta Thunberg’s speech transcript
Climate March, Stockholm, September 13, 2018
‘The Grown-Ups Have Failed Us’
Video for Twitter, September 17, 2018
Fridays for future. The school strike continues! #climatestrike #klimatstrejk #FridaysForFuture pic.twitter.com/5jej011Qtp
— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) September 16, 2018
‘We are on a School Strike for the Climate’
Extinction Rebellion Rally, London, October 31, 2018
‘Almost Everything is Black and White’ Greta’s speech transcript
TED Talk, Stockholm, November 24, 2018
‘Save the World by Changing the Rules’ Greta’s speech transcript
UN Climate Conference, Katowice, December 3, 2018
‘Our Political Leaders Have Failed Us’ Greta’s speech transcript
UN Climate Conference, Katowice, December 12, 2018
‘Unpopular’ Greta’s speech transcript
Video at World Economic Forum, Davos, January 22, 2019
‘Prove Me Wrong’ Greta’s speech transcript
World Economic Forum, Davos, January 25, 2019
‘Our House is On Fire’ Greta’s speech transcript
European Economic and Social Committee, Brussels, February 21, 2019
‘You’re Acting Like Spoiled Irresponsible Children’ Greta’s speech transcript
Goldene Kamera Award, Berlin, March 30, 2019
‘A Strange World’ Greta’s speech transcript
European Parliament, Strasbourg, April 16, 2019
‘Cathedral Thinking’ Greta’s speech transcript
UK Parliament, London, April 23, 2019
‘Can You Hear Me?’ Greta’s speech transcript
R20 Austrian World Summit, Vienna, May 28, 2019
‘The Easiest Solution is Right in Front of You’
Brilliant Minds Conference, Stockholm, June 13, 2019
‘You are the Role Models (The Bigger Your Platform the Bigger Your Responsibility)’ Greta’s speech transcript
French National Assembly, Paris, July 23, 2019
‘You Can’t Simply Make Up Your Own Facts’ Greta’s speech transcript
U.S. Congress, Washington DC, September 18, 2019
‘Wherever I Go I Seem to be Surrounded by Fairy Tales’ Greta’s speech transcript
Global Climate Strike, New York City, September 20, 2019
‘The Inaction is the Same Everywhere’
UN Climate Summit, New York City, 23 September 2019
‘The World is Waking Up’ Greta’s speech transcript
Global Climate Strike, Montreal, September 27, 2019
‘We are the Change and Change is Coming’ Greta’s speech transcript
COP25 United Nations Climate Conference, Madrid, December 11, 2019
‘Remember the Facts’ Greta’s speech transcript
World Economic Forum, Davos, January 21, 2020
‘We are telling you to act as if you loved your children above all else’ Greta’s speech transcript
European Parliament, Brussels, March 4, 2020
‘You Cannot Make Deals with Physics’ Greta’s speech transcript
The importance of Greta Thunberg’s speeches
Such powerful speeches from someone so young has helped the world think more clearly about the world our kids and grandkids will inherit. They have starkly reminded those with the power to make things better in the present to take responsibility for that future.
What’s possibly most remarkable is that Greta Thunberg’s speeches are grounded in the science of climate change. And her persistent message is to remind politicians, business leaders, journalists and others to listen to the science. And of course act on it.
A book of Greta’s speeches
A number of these speeches are contained in a small book by Greta. If you’re keen you can …
Buy Greta’s book ‘No One is Too Small to Make a Difference’.
Buy Greta’s audiobook ‘No One is Too Small to Make a Difference’.
It’s not long and worth a read or a listen. The audiobook read by Greta is great.
Quotes from Greta’s speeches
Finally, a reminder that we’ve put together an in-depth compilation of Greta’s best lines and inspiring words of wisdom in our separate post ‘Best Greta Thunberg Quotes’.
If we’ve missed any of the best of Greta Thunberg’s speeches in this post please let us know in the comments (when and where they were.)
Thanks for compiling these.
If you had to choose what you think is her best speech, or her top 2 speeches, do you know which you would choose?
Not necessarily the ones that had the most global impact – not necessarily the most famous speeches – not necessarily the greatest backdrops or cameras – but the greatest combination of passion and intelligence.
I’m sure most or all of these have some unique quality, some unique statement, so watching all would be best, but if we can only choose one or two, according to the above criteria, do you know which you would choose?
Good question. Hard to choose. The standouts for me personally were Greta’s first two speeches ‘Our Lives Are In Your Hands’ and ‘The Grown-Ups Have Failed Us’ in Stockholm in September of 2018. It was the early days of her strike outside the Swedish Parliament. I don’t think people would have known who she was. She’s slightly awkward – and yet delivering speeches that were raw and articulate. There’s a clear, genuine passion in them.
The reaction from the crowd at the end of that second speech was great – it says it all. And even better I loved the look on her face after that. I really don’t think she expected her words would get that response. Have a look – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lgt_D-6sGHU
The lines in her very first speech are still some of her strongest. Key points she would go on to deliver in forums of world leaders. And remember at that stage she was an unknown teenager.
“If people knew what a nightmare scenario we will face if we don’t keep global warming below 2 °C, they wouldn’t need to ask me why I’m on school strike outside parliament. If everyone knew how serious the situation is and how little is actually being done, everyone would come and sit down beside us.”
“Our school strike has nothing to do with party politics. Because the climate and the biosphere don’t care about our politics and our empty words for a single second. They only care about what we actually do.”
“To all of you who choose to look the other way every day because you seem more frightened of the changes that can prevent catastrophic climate change than the catastrophic climate change itself. Your silence is worst of all.”
“A lot of people say that Sweden is a small country, that it doesn’t matter what we do. But I think that if a few girls can get headlines all over the world just by not going to school for a few weeks, imagine what we could do together if we wanted to.”
Thank you so so much for all your work compiling Greta’s speeches and transcripts!
I will look, listen and learn from this awesome individual.