Teen climate activist Jamie Margolin testified before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and Select Committee on the Climate Crisis alongside fellow activist Greta Thunberg on Wednesday and declared that the climate “crisis” is directly linked to colonialism and slavery.
The Seattle native — joined by Thunberg, the famed European climate activist who recently received stunning accolades from former President Obama — told U.S. lawmakers that her generation lives with constant “fear and despair” due to the climate crisis and added that climate change is directly linked to colonialism, slavery, and natural resource extraction.
“I want the entirety of Congress — in fact, the whole U.S. government — to remember the fear and despair that my generation lives with every day, and I want you to hold on to it,” she said.
“How do I even being to convey to you what it feels like to know that within my lifetime the destruction that we have already seen from the climate crisis will only get worse?” she asked, suggesting that her dreams really do not matter because her generation “has been committed to a planet that is collapsing.”
She scolded lawmakers, telling them they should be ashamed because “youth climate activists should not have to exist” in the first place. While she took on a more optimistic tone when talking about potential solutions, that quickly took a sharp turn, with the teen activist painting a darker and more sinister picture of America.
“Solving the climate crisis goes against everything that our country was unfortunately built on — colonialism, slavery, and natural resource extraction,” Margolin said. “This is why the youth are calling for a new era altogether.”
“As Greta mentioned, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report that we only have a few months left to create the massive political shift needed to transition our world to an entirely renewable energy economy,” she continued, citing the commonly touted ten-year deadline.
“This needs to happen within the next ten years, which is our deadline to save life as we know it,” she said, adding that she would like her generation to be known as “Generation GND” for the “Green New Deal” rather than Generation Z.
Margolin revisited her argument on colonialism later on and urged the U.S. to listen to “indigenous protectors” in Latin America. However, she warned America to “not perpetuate the same systems of oppression that have been pushing them down.”
She later accused America of “trying to colonize” its way out of the climate crisis.
“And right now something that has been disturbing me a lot is seeing the way that we are trying to colonize and buy and sell our way out of a problem caused by colonization and buying and selling,” she added.