Austrian-American filmmaker, politician, and former professional bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger teamed up with Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old Swedish climate activist and vegan, to make a difference for the planet.
Schwarzenegger’s environmental organization recently held a climate summit in Vienna. Thunberg — who received a nomination for a Nobel Peace Prize earlier this year — was joined by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen in opening the R20 Austrian World Summit.
Speaking at the event’s opening, Thunberg called out the leaders in attendance for their failure to act on climate matters, international news site Deutch Welle reported. The activist urged leaders to speak openly with the public about climate change without minimizing “the biggest crisis humanity has ever faced.”
People are unaware of the enormity of the environmental issue because they “have not been told, or more importantly, told by the right people,” she said.
The public is influenced by celebrities, politicians, and CEOs, the young vegan activist explained. “And let’s be honest, this is a responsibility most of you have failed to take,” Thunberg said. “We are humans… We are a part of nature. We are social animals. We are naturally drawn to our leaders.”
“You cannot rely on people reading between the lines or searching for [climate change] information themselves,” she said, adding that there must be a shift in the way the issue is approached.
Late last year, the United Nations warned that humankind has 12 years to prevent a climate crisis.
“For too long, the people in power have gotten away with basically not doing anything to stop the climate and ecological breakdown. They have gotten away with stealing our future and selling it for profit,” Thunberg said.
Schwarzenegger was “starstruck” to have met the young influencer, according to an Instagram post by Schwarzenegger himself. At the summit, the former California Governor “praised Thunberg as a dreamer who had created a grassroots youth movement to hold those in power accountable for their pledges to roll back climate change,” Deutsche Welle reported.
Schwarzenegger stated, “If we fail to act it is their future at stake, not ours. Their vision should lead us to action.”