An activist invited to speak at President Joe Biden’s virtual climate summit criticized world leaders Thursday for perpetuating environmental damage to the planet.
Secretary of State Tony Blinken welcomed 19-year-old Mexican-born climate activist Xiye Bastida to speak at Biden’s summit of over 40 world leaders.
“The climate crisis is the result of those perpetuating and upholding the harmful systems of colonialism, oppression, capitalism, and market-oriented green-washed solutions,” she said during her speech.
She accused world leaders of perpetrating economic systems that disproportionally harm black, brown, and indigenous people.
“We demand that you stop systematically targeting the global south, and black and brown and indigenous communities through environmental plunder, the exploitation of our lands…” Bastida said.
She said climate migrants should be recognized by foreign governments, noting flooding, wildfires, crop failure, and human rights abuses were the result of climate change.
“The climate crisis is so violent and has exasperated so much injustice,” Bastida said, calling the “biggest challenge humanity had faced.”
She demanded positions of power and influence for young people to ensure they were not “replicating systems of exploitation.”
Bastida also demanded the end of all fossil fuels and infrastructure, calling for a “just transition” to renewable energy.
“You need to accept that the era of fossil fuels is over,” she said.
Bastida also called for “comprehensive non-Eurocentric and intersectional climate education” as well as “literacy on climate justice, Environmental racism, and ancestral and indigenous wisdom.”
She challenged world leaders for not doing enough on climate change, calling them to “live in harmony with Mother Earth.”
“You are the naive ones if you think we can survive this crisis in the current way of living,” she said.
Blinken thanked Bastida for participating in the summit.
“Thank you very much for adding your powerful voice to the summit,” he said. “People are listening. And I thank you.”