Patti Smith has heaped praise on teenage environmental activist Greta Thunberg in a new wide-ranging interview.

Smith, the punk poet who has long championed the importance of free speech, of giving a voice to those who need it more and protesting for what she believes is right, has celebrated the work of Thunberg who faces repeated criticism for her efforts.

“Young people are confronted with a lot more than we were confronted (with), so we have to be fair,” Smith said in an interview with ITV. “What are they doing that is productive? And what are they concerned about and how can we help them, and even more important, support them?”

 Smith added” “So, like what young Greta says, ‘don’t think of youth as being our hope, get out there and join us’.

“They’re burgeoning, they’re beloved dandelions, wildflowers, and they’re sprouting all over the world.”

[MORE] – Leonardo DiCaprio hails Greta Thunberg as the “leader of our time”

Greta Thunberg was recently supported by Leonardo Di Caprio. (Credit: Leonardo DiCaprio/Instagram)

Elsewhere in the interview, Smith took aim at US President Donald Trump: “It bothers me that a person representing our country, also representing us, is such an uneducated man, lacking empathy, compassion, a sense of history, a sense of the importance of allies, the importance of opening up one’s door to people who are experiencing strife,” she said.

“What he’s done to our environment, his lack of comprehension of the importance of the global conversation about our environment… It’s like every single day, one can be angry, humiliated, or shocked at the things that he does.

In a closing message, Smith said that hopes the rest of the world knows that Trump “does not represent the views of the lion’s share of the American people.”

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There are few times in human history where voices are amplified at such pivotal moments and in such transformational ways – but @GretaThunberg has become a leader of our time. History will judge us for what we do today to help guarantee that future generations can enjoy the same livable planet that we have so clearly taken for granted. I hope that Greta’s message is a wake-up call to world leaders everywhere that the time for inaction is over. It is because of Greta, and young activists everywhere that I am optimistic about what the future holds. It was an honor to spend time with Greta. She and I have made a commitment to support one another, in hopes of securing a brighter future for our planet. #FridaysforFuture #ClimateStrike @fridaysforfuture

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