In the liberal governor, and self-styled leader on climate change, Thunberg will probably find a more receptive audience than she would at the White House. In an interview with Ellen DeGeneres that aired Friday, Thunberg said she wouldn’t be interested in meeting with President Trump to discuss her signature issue.
“Would you sit down with him to try to help him understand climate change?” DeGeneres asked.
“I don’t understand why I would do that,” Thunberg replied, echoing past comments. “I don’t see what I could tell him that he hasn’t already heard, and I just think it would be a waste of time, really.”
In September, Trump mocked the 16-year-old activist in a sarcastic tweet after Thunberg’s searing speech at the United Nations Climate Action Summit in New York.
Thunberg has been among the most vocal, visible advocates in the global fight against climate change since she began skipping school in her native Sweden to protest government inaction on the matter. She has inspired activists young and old across the world, spurring millions to strike with her.
Ahead of the climate summit, Thunberg traveled nearly 3,000 miles — a two-week journey from Plymouth, England, to New York — aboard a carbon-neutral sailboat, allowing her to attend the international event sans emissions.
“I shouldn’t be up here,” she said during a panel at the summit. “I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean.”
Now Thunberg — who planned to stay in the Western Hemisphere and travel to Chile in December for the 2019 United Nations Climate Change Conference, or COP25 — hopes to cross the Atlantic once again.
Protests in Santiago forced the United Nations to relocate the conference to Madrid. And Thunberg is looking for a lift.
“It turns out I’ve traveled half around the world, the wrong way,” she said in a tweet. “Now I need to find a way to cross the Atlantic in November … If anyone could help me find transport I would be so grateful.”
At the Friday rally, youth activists denounced Los Angeles area oil production and wells, which they said are particularly dangerous for low-income communities and communities of color that live in proximity to the facilities. One of the protesters’ demands was that California leaders establish a 2,500-foot buffer zone between drill sites and homes.
“Right now, we are living in the beginning of a climate and ecological breakdown,” Thunberg said in her remarks at the rally. “And we cannot continue to look away from this crisis anymore. I mean, what is it that seems to be so hard to understand? We have been repeating the same message over and over again."
Author and activist Bill McKibben said the demonstration was well-timed, at the peak of fire season.
“Okay,” he tweeted, “@GretaThunberg has good timing: smoldering, smoky Los Angeles might be in a mood to hear her message today. Maybe @GavinNewsom will even decide the time has come to stop approving new oil wells! Thanks to all the Gretas who work so hard!”