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Iowa teens delighted as Greta Thunberg leads unexpected climate strike
-More than 3,000 people gathered in the shadow of the University of Iowa on Friday afternoon to hear Thunberg speak


Climate change teen activist Greta Thunberg joins a climate strike march in Iowa City. Photograph: Daniel Acker/Reuters


Three days prior to Greta Thunberg’s surprise visit to Iowa City on Friday, the organizer and local climate activist, Massimo Biggers, a 14-year-old Iowa City high school student, was preparing to strike – as he has done every Friday, sometimes on his own, since the Global Climate Strike day Thunberg inspired on 15 March.


Out of the blue, a message arrived from the Swedish teen activist, with whom he had been in touch, asking him if he was planning to strike again this Friday. “Of course!” he replied, and for the last 48 hours, according to his father, Jeff, neither had slept. “This was truly a miracle to have the town pull this together,” he said.


More than 3,000 people gathered at short notice in the shadow of the University of Iowa on Friday afternoon to hear Thunberg speak.


Attendees participate in a climate strike rally with climate change environmental teen activist Greta Thunberg, in Iowa City, Iowa. Photograph: Daniel Acker/Reuters


“To be part of a global movement and especially at this stage, it’s just an amazing, amazing opportunity to see a global leader,” said Abbey Jordahl, a freshman from Ankeny, Iowa. “Honestly I couldn’t believe it when I read that Greta was coming here, I was like … Iowa City?! What?! I’ve been following her for a while, honestly I can’t believe I’m here!”


Activist Greta Thunberg joins a climate strike march in Iowa City. Photograph: Daniel Acker/Reuters


Thunberg rallied an enthusiastic, young crowd, flush with high school and university students, many of whom had made their own signs to greet her. “Right now the world leaders keep acting like children and somebody needs to be the adult in the room,” she said, referencing her speech at the United Nations in New York the previous week.


Claire Carlson, a senior studying geoscience, environmental science and business at UI from Ottumwa had joined friends from the Environmental Science Club at the rally. “Its nice to finally see a large group of people come together and address the problem,” she said. “I think Greta’s done a really good job of bringing a voice to that especially at a really young age. I think it means that more people are starting to understand the need for impactful legislation with regards to climate change.”


More than 3,000 people gathered in the shadow of the University of Iowa on Friday afternoon to hear Thunberg speak. Photograph: Daniel Acker/Reuters


Carlson, like her friend Emma Hartke, will be able to caucus next February for a Democratic candidate. “I think Elizabeth Warren has a really good plan for climate change,” said Hartke. Carlson favours the young mayor from South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttigieg, but Warren is the name on most people’s lips when asked which way they’re currently leaning.


“There are still some centrists who like to play both sides on climate … such as Joe Biden,” said Derek Torres who has moved to Iowa City from Atlanta. “They always speak in terms of jobs … but if there’s no air or water there’s no jobs,” he reasoned.


Thunberg has become adept at using Twitter to spread her message, but does she enjoy using it? “Yes and no,” she said. “A lot of it is just meaningless. And people wanting to brag about themselves or whatever, lots of hate, trolls, anonymous people who have separate accounts.” But she admitted she does enjoy updating her tagline. “You need to have fun as well,” she joked.

騰伯格已經熟練地使用推特來傳播她的信息,但是她喜歡使用推特嗎?“是也不是,”她說。“很多都是毫無意義的。而那些想要吹噓自己或諸如此類的人,充滿了仇恨、惡意攻擊、擁有獨立賬戶的匿名人士。” 但她承認,她確實喜歡更新自己的口號。她開玩笑說:“你也需要有樂趣。”