Greta Thunberg, the Swedish teenager who this month crossed the Atlantic in a sailboat to protest climate change, joined American climate activists Wednesday at a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing titled: "Voices Leading the Next Generation on the Global Climate Crisis."
"I don't want you to listen to me, I want you to listen to the scientists," Greta told members of the Energy and the Environment Subcommittee. "And I want you to unite behind the science and I want you to take real action."
Jamie Margolin, a high school senior who sued her home state of Washington for its role in causing climate change, said: "I don’t think a lot of people in Congress understand the conversations that are happening every day in American high schools."
In response to a question about how American children are having their lives impacted by climate change, Margolin spoke about deep despair and nihilism felt by younger generations:
"Kids are joking, like, what is even, like, the point [if] the world is ending," Margolin said. "What are we studying for? What are we doing?"
JAIME MARGOLIN: I already have underlying issues of anxiety. And it's really hard to grow up in a world full of "ifs." You know, I don't think a lot of people in Congress understand the conversations that are happening in everyday American high schools, but we're constantly asked, prepare for your future, study for your future, do this for your future, but our world is full of ifs.
I'll be talking to my best friend and she says, "I want to see this natural place sometime -- if it's going to be around." "I want to study to be this, if that's still going to be a possibility."
It's just like this constant looming uncertainty and it's this weird form of nihilism and weird just fear that's been existing in my generation where kids are joking, "Like, what is even like the point? The world is ending? What are we studying for? What are we doing?"
It's this depression and this fear, not just me and among our panelists, but everyone. That anxiety is something no child should ever have to fear.
If you think about it, if you go back to, what is the purpose of a parent, down to just the biological purpose, it's to give their child the best future and the best life they can possibly have. The supposed "American dream" is to make sure that children have a better future than adults. Right now it's like some members of government and some corporations are actively pointing a gun to children's futures. And actively making it worse, actively going out of their way to support corporations and poison us and destroy our future and that is horrifying and it feels like a betrayal.
It's like a knife to the heart to know people who have kids, they will go around in these campaign ads and will be holding these babies. "Oh, vote for me. Look at me." Attracting with a small child while they actively poison and choose their wall etc. Over their children. -- wallets over their children. It's devastating and scary, but it feels like we've been betrayed.
"The most frustrating thing is that the US government can’t even begin to imagine the massive political shift that has to happen in order for us to solve this issue. Solving the climate crisis, goes against what this country was unfortunately built on, colonialism, slavery and natural resource extraction. This is why youth are calling for a new era all together," Margolin said in her prepared tesimony. "People call my generation 'Generation Z' as if we are the last generation. But we are not. We are refusing to be the last letter of the alphabet."
Watch the full hearing:
Greta Thunberg, founder of Fridays For Future
Jamie Margolin, co-founder of This Is Zero Hour, plaintiff in Piper v. State of Washington
Vic Barrett, fellow for the Alliance for Climate Education, plaintiff in Juliana v. United States
Benji Backer, president of the American Conservation Coalition
(hat tip: Breitbart's Penny Starr)