"Prove Us Wrong": A Roundup of Some of the Best Speeches at COP26
Activists challenge world leaders to act to halt the climate crisis
The 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP26, has officially drawn to a close. In just under two weeks, leaders from all around the world, many of whom flew to Glasgow in private jets, acknowledged the climate crisis we are in and affirmed that working together is key to preserving the world as we know it.
But climate activists are used to fluffy words and empty promises that serve the fossil fuel industry more than the planet. Case in point: There were more fossil fuel industry delegates at COP26 than from any single country—with over 500 delegates.
Even so, there were plenty of inspiring and evocative speeches along the way. Speakers such as Ugandan youth activist Vanessa Nakate and Amazonian Indigenous activist Txai Suruí shared stories of how their community is already being impacted by climate change. “It’s not 2030 or 2050,” Suruí said. “It’s now.”
Here are just a few of the best COP26 speeches from climate activists and leaders whose calls for action went viral.
Vanessa Nakate, Ugandan climate activist, at Youth4Climate Pre-COP26
Nisreen Elsaim, UN Secretary-General's Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change
David Attenborough, natural historian and broadcaster
Mia Mottley, prime minister of Barbados
Brianna Fruean, Pacific climate activist
Txai Suruí, Amazonian activist
Surangel Whipps Jr, president of Palau
Vinisha Umashankar, Earthshot Prize finalist
Elizabeth Wathuti, youth climate activist, Kenya
Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, Indigenous activist
Vanessa Nakate, Ugandan climate activist