This week’s featured article


Teenage climate change activist Greta Thunberg opened the United Nations Climate Action Summit last month with an angry condemnation of world leaders for failing to take strong measures to combat climate change — “How dare you,” she said.

Days after millions of young people had taken to the streets worldwide to demand emergency action on climate change, leaders gathered for the annual United Nations General Assembly aiming to inject fresh momentum into stalling efforts to curb carbon emissions.

A visibly emotional Thunberg, 16, said in stern remarks at the opening of the summit that the generations that have polluted the most have burdened her and her generation with the extreme impacts of climate change.

“This is all wrong. I shouldn’t be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean yet you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you,” said the Swedish teenager, her voice quivering.

“You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words,” Thunberg said, adding that the plans that leaders will unveil will not be enough to respond to the rate of the planet’s warming.

Thunberg has galvanized a new wave of climate change activism through her weekly Fridays for Future school strikes, which she began with her weekly, solitary protests outside of the Swedish parliament.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had warned governments ahead of the event that they would have to offer action plans to qualify to speak at the summit, which is aimed at boosting the 2015 Paris Agreement to combat global warming. In his opening remarks, he tried to capture the urgency of climate change and called out the fossil fuel industry.

“Nature is angry. And we fool ourselves if we think we can fool nature, because nature always strikes back, and around the world nature is striking back with fury,” Guterres said.

With climate impacts such as extreme weather, thawing permafrost and sea-level rise unfolding much faster than expected, scientists say the urgency of the crisis has intensified since the Paris accord was agreed

While some countries have made progress, some of the biggest emitting countries remain far behind, even as wildfires, heat waves and record temperatures have provided glimpses of the devastation that could lie in store in a warmer world.

Published in The Japan Times on Sept. 24.

Warm up

One minute chat about natural disasters.


Collect words related to environment,

e.g.: the Earth, nature, global warming.

New words

1) momentum: the impetus gained by a moving object, e.g. “The bicycle gained momentum as it sped down the hill.”

2) galvanize: excite (someone) into taking action, e.g. “The car crash galvanized the community into changing laws on drinking and driving.”

3) devestation: great destruction, e.g. “The devastation in Japan after World War II seemed insurmountable.”

Guess the headline

‘How d_ _ _ you’: Teen activist Greta Thunberg angrily tells U.N. c_ _ _ _ _ _ summit


1) Who is Greta Thunberg?

2) What did she start?

3) What did Anotnio Guterres say before the summit?

Let’s discuss the article

1) What do you think about Greta Thunberg’s speech?

2) Do you think we are taking enough action to combat climate change?

3) What else do you think is needed to fight climate change?





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