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‘Shameful’ and ‘Cowardly’ — Teenage Climate Activists Shame GOP Rep. for His Excuses

Jamie Margolin and Greta Thunberg were not having Rep. Garret Graves’ nonsense

Swedish teen climate activist Greta Thunberg testifies at a Climate Crisis Committee joint hearing on "Voices Leading the Next Generation on the Global Climate Crisis" on September 18, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Olivier Douliery / AFP)        (Photo credit should read OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP/Getty Images)

Swedish teen climate activist Greta Thunberg testifies at a Climate Crisis Committee joint hearing on "Voices Leading the Next Generation on the Global Climate Crisis" on September 18th, 2019 in Washington, D.C.

OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP/Getty Images)

The UN Climate Summit kicks off in New York City next Monday, the Global Climate Strike begins on Friday, and on Wednesday a group of teenage activists were in Washington, D.C., to testify before the House Climate Crisis Committee and a House Foreign Affairs subcommittee.

During the hearing, Rep. Garret Graves (R-Louisiana), the ranking Republican on the Climate Crisis Committee, tried to argue the United States shouldn’t focus on the climate crisis because other countries are not taking action to curb their emissions. “So while in the United States we need to continue investing in innovative solutions and exporting clean energy technologies, it makes no sense for us to be doing it if we’re simply watching for increases in China,” he said.

Jamie Margolin, a 17-year-old climate change activist from Seattle, didn’t quite agree with the Republican congressman. She proceeded to dismantle his logic:

“I have a question. When your children ask you: Did you do absolutely everything in your power to stop the climate crisis, when the storms were getting worse and we’re seeing all the effects … Can you really look them in the eye and say, ‘No, sorry, I couldn’t do anything because that country over there didn’t do anything, and if they’re not going to do anything then I’m not.’ That is shameful and that is cowardly, and there is no excuse to not take action, to not improve as much as we can in the United States. … I just don’t understand as a parent how you can look your kid in the eye and say that there was this impending crisis, everything was at stake, but I stood back and I didn’t really do anything. I didn’t take action. I didn’t really act like it was an emergency because our neighbors over there weren’t doing it. So I’m just not going to. How can you tell your children that?”

Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish activist to whom Graves initially laid out his “what-about-them” logic, followed up Margolin’s retort with a far shorter but equally devastating takedown of the idea that America should sit on it’s hands because that’s what China is doing.

“I am from Sweden,” she said. “It’s a small country, and there it’s the same argument. Why should we do anything? Just look at the U.S.? So just so you know, that’s being used against you, as well.”

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