Former President Barack Obama on Monday met with Swedish teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg as part of her visit to Washington, DC, to promote environmental issues.
“Just 16, @GretaThunberg is already one of our planet’s greatest advocates,” Obama tweeted after his meeting with Thunberg. “Recognizing that her generation will bear the brunt of climate change, she’s unafraid to push for real action.”
Thunberg established herself as a bona fide climate action figure after staging weekly sit-ins outside the Swedish Parliament, spawning a burgeoning movement of youth climate activists to hold their own protests in more than 100 cities worldwide.
She arrived in New York last month after sailing across the Atlantic to speak at the United Nations Climate Action Summit, which will take place on September 23. Thunberg traveled on a zero-emissions sailboat to reduce the environmental impact of her journey, according to a statement from her team.
Video of the meeting between Thunberg and Obama released by the Obama Foundation on Tuesday shows the former President asking Thunberg about recent climate strikes she participated in while she visited New York and Washington.
“Everyone is so nice and all of these young people seem so eager, very enthusiastic which is a very good thing,” she said.
Before the two fist-bumped, Obama said to Thunberg: “You and me, we’re a team.”
While Obama championed addressing environmental issues while in office, President Donald Trump — a longtime climate crisis denier — has attempted to remove many of the policy guardrails installed by the Obama administration to limit the emissions of greenhouse gases.
Thunberg said in the Obama Foundation’s video that creativity from young people is key.
“My message to young people who want to have an impact is to be creative,” she said “There’s so incredibly much you can do and to not underestimate yourself.”