Speech to New York City public school students

Vienna Cafe, UN Headquarters, New York City, 18 July 2016

School children and students, Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure for me to take part in this important event. It's good to see Munch's painting being used for something else than scaring children during Halloween.

Children and young people creating awareness about the importance of taking care of our planet is exactly what the world needs.

For me – bringing together Munch’s most famous painting and a loud shout for sustainable development makes for a perfect match.

And you who are the force behind this art installation are a dream scream team.

There is a theory that the reason Munch painted such a red sky in ‘The Scream’ was an environmental shock.

American astronomers have pointed to a major earthquake in Indonesia at the time when Munch was working on this painting. The earthquake caused particularly red skies in Europe at sunrise and sunset from November 1883 to February 1884.

We will probably never know whether this is true, but we do know for sure that our planet only has one environment and one climate.

So Plan A must be to take proper care of our planet. For there is no Plan B – no planet B.

The best way to take care of our environment and climate is to take care of people at the same time. Particularly by making sure that young people like yourselves get an education.

That way children and young people can be activists for a better world with a firm basis in knowledge. Just like you.

Your voices matter the most because you will inherit the planet and pass it on again to the next generations. When discussing the SDGs, we should remember that the children are the most important partners in this work. Thank you for "screaming out" for sustainable development.