Since August 2018, still at age 15, , every Friday Greta Thunberg skips school to strike in front of the Swedish parliament building in Stockholm. She arrives at 8am in front of the Rksdag building with a poster that says “school strike for climate action.” The goal is to raise awareness and lobby governments to act to reduce global climate change.
These events were called #FridaysForFuture and inspired young people around the world to do the same. So far, there’s been protests in Australia, Canada, Belgium, Germany, South Korea, India and even Brazil.
The wave of protests led by Greta resulted in a global demonstration on March 15th. In all, over 100 countries engaged in demonstrations, adding up to 1.4 million people on the streets to advocate for environmental issues.
Greta’s actions were so successful that she was invited to be part of the TEDTalks lecture series. She also attended the United Nations climate summit in Poland and the World Economic Forum in Davos. Her strong speech drew even more attention from global leaders. “We are just kids who protest. We should not be doing this. We should not have to do this, to feel that our future is threatened to the extent that we have to skip classes to fight for it. It is a failure of previous generations that did nothing,” she said.
In 2019, Greta Thunberg was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. If she wins, she will become the second climate change activist (the first one was Al Gore in 2007) and the youngest person to receive the title – currently, the distinction belongs to activist Malala Yousafzai, who won the prize in 2014, then aged 17. The result will be released in October.
“Adults are saying: ‘we must give young people hope.’ But I do not want your hope. I do not want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. And I want you to act. I want you to act as you would in a crisis. I want you to act as if the house is on fire, because it is.” -Greta Thunberg, in Davos.
Young girl with Asperger syndrome and vegan
At the age of 11, Greta faced severe depression that led her to not eat for two months, losing 20 pounds. The reason: concern for environmental problems. “I started to get very depressed: I stopped eating, talking, going to school. All this had a lot to do with climate change: I was very worried. I didn’t know what to do…”, she told the Spanish newspaper El País.
Greta says she has a quiet and shy personality, but strong. She became vegan and has already convinced almost her whole family to follow the decision – her mother, the lyrical singer Malena Ernman, still eats cheese.
Another striking feature of the young activist is her diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder that affects social interaction, which Greta herself revealed on social media. “I have Asperger’s, which means that my brain works in a slightly different way. I see things in black and white, with logic. If I were not so strange, then I would have distracted myself with the social game that people play. I’m the kind of person who does not like it when someone says one thing and does another, and that’s the case with climate change,” she concludes.
Content published in April 29, 2019