‘Harness That Anger’: Obama Offers Advice to Young Climate Change Activists (Watch Full Speech)

Former President Barack Obama looked beyond his audience of delegates at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland Monday and focused his attention on the young activists watching online, pleading with the generation to adopt a more conciliatory approach to their fight.


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“It will not be enough to simply mobilize the converted,” Obama warned. “It will not be enough to preach to the choir. It will not be enough to just ramp up intensity among people who already know about climate change and care deeply about it.”

“The most important energy for this movement is coming from young people,” he said — the first line he delivered that received significant applause. “They have more at stake in this fight than anybody else. That’s why I want to spend the rest of my time talking directly to young people who may be watching and wondering what they can do to help.”

“The world is full of Gretas,” he added, referring to teen Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, who galvanized the movement for climate action.

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Obama first advised the demographic to vote, stressing, “Don’t think you can afford to ignore politics. You don’t have to be happy about it, but you can’t ignore it. You can’t be too pure for it.”

He then encouraged using one’s power as a consumer and an employee, saying, “The second way you can have an impact on climate change is by pressuring companies to do the right thing. Members of your generation have already shown that you are willing to pay for products that are responsible and responsive to the climate challenge, and that you are also willing to avoid those companies that are actually making climate change worse. … That’s a message CEOs will learn to understand.”

He went on to urge younger people to educate and persuade older members of society on the importance of combating climate change. And, finally, he urged them to engage constructively with the unconverted.

Watch below:

 

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