Greta Ernman Thunberg (Swedish pronunciation: [²ɡreːta ²tʉːnbærj]; born 3 January 2003) is a Swedish political activist seeking to stop global warming and climate change. In August 2018, she quickly rose to prominence for starting the first school strike for climate, outside the Swedish parliament building. In November 2018, she spoke at TEDxStockholm, in December she addressed the United Nations Climate Change Conference and in January 2019 she was invited to talk to the World Economic Forum at Davos.
Greta Thunberg in August 2018
|Occupation||Student and activist|
|Known for||School strike for climate outside Swedish Parliament and speaking at the COP24|
Greta Thunberg was born on 3 January 2003. Her mother is Swedish opera singer Malena Ernman and her father is actor Svante Thunberg, who is named after his distant relative Svante Arrhenius. Her grandfather is actor and director Olof Thunberg.
In December 2018, Thunberg mentioned having been diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD), and selective mutism. To lower her family's carbon footprint, she insisted they become vegan and give up flying.
School strike for climateEdit
On 20 August 2018, Thunberg, who back then had just started ninth grade, decided to not attend school until the 2018 Sweden general election on 9 September after heat waves and wildfires in Sweden. Her demands were that the Swedish government reduce carbon emissions in accordance with the Paris Agreement, and she protested by sitting outside the Riksdag every day during school hours with the sign Skolstrejk för klimatet (school strike for the climate). After the general elections, she continued to strike only on Fridays, gaining worldwide attention. She inspired school students across the globe to take part in student strikes. As of December 2018, more than 000 students had held strikes in at least 270 cities. 20 Thunberg credits the teen activists at Parkland school in Florida, who organized the March For Our Lives, as the inspiration to begin her school climate strike.
Greta Thunberg participated in the Rise for Climate demonstration outside the European Parliament in Brussels. In October 2018, Thunberg and her family drove in an electric car to London, where she addressed the 'Declaration of Rebellion' organized by Extinction Rebellion opposite the Houses of Parliament.
On 24 November 2018, she spoke at TEDxStockholm. She spoke about realising, when she was eight years old, that climate change existed and wondering why it was not headline news on every channel, as if there was a world war going on. She said she did not go to school to become a climate scientist, as some suggested, because the science was done and only denial, ignorance and inaction was remaining. Speculating that her children and grandchildren would ask her why they had not taken action in 2018 when there was still time, she concluded with "we can’t change the world by playing by the rules, because the rules have to be changed."
Thunberg addressed the COP24 United Nations climate change summit on 4 December 2018 and also spoke before the plenary assembly on 12 December 2018. During the summit, she also participated in a panel talk together with representatives of the We Don't Have Time Foundation, in which she talked about how the school strike began.
On 23 January 2019, Thunberg arrived in Davos after a 32-hour train journey, in contrast to the many delegates who arrived by up to individual private jet flights, 1500 to continue her climate campaign at the World Economic Forum. She told a Davos panel "Some people, some companies, some decision makers in particular have known exactly what priceless values they have been sacrificing to continue making unimaginable amounts of money. I think many of you here today belong to that group of people." Later in the week, she warned the global leaders that "Our house is on fire" adding "I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. We owe it to the young people, to give them hope."
On 21 February 2019, she spoke at a conference of the European Economic and Social Committee and to European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker, where she demanded that to still meet the climate goals the EU must reduce their CO
2 emissions by at least 80% until 2030. Later, she joined the climate protests in Brussels.
Prizes and awardsEdit
Greta Thunberg was one of the winners of Svenska Dagbladet's debate article writing competition on the climate for young people in May 2018. Thunberg was nominated for the electricity company Telge Energi's prize for children and young people who promote sustainable development, Children's Climate Prize, but declined because the finalists would have to fly to Stockholm. In November 2018, she was awarded the Fryshuset scholarship of the Young Role Model of the Year. In December 2018, Time magazine named Thunberg one of the world's 25 most influential teenagers of 2018. On the occasion of the International Women's Day Thunberg was proclaimed the most important woman of the year in Sweden in 2019. The award was based on a survey by the institute Inizio on behalf of the newspaper Aftonbladet. Three Norwegian lawmakers nominated Thunberg for the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize.
Controversy over affiliationsEdit
After her student climate strikes gained momentum, attempts were made to discredit her, and others tried to benefit from her high profile. In late 2018, Ingmar Rentzhog, founder of the non-profit We Don't Have Time Foundation (WDHT), recruited Thunberg to become an unpaid youth advisor and used Thunberg's name and image without her knowledge or permission to raise millions for WDHT's for-profit subsidiary We Don't Have Time AB, of which Rentzhog is CEO. Thunberg received no money from the company. She terminated her volunteer advisor role with WDHT, stating she "is not part of any organization… am absolutely independent… [and] do what I do completely for free."
- Severn Cullis-Suzuki - as a minor was also a notable environmental activist
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I was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrom, OCD, and selective mutism. That basically means I only speak when I think it's necessary. Now is one of those moments… I think that in many ways, we autistic are the normal ones, and the rest of the people are pretty strange, especially when it comes to the sustainability crisis, where everyone keeps saying that climate change is an existential threat and the most important issue of all and yet they just carry on like before.
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You only speak of a green eternal economic growth because you are too scared of being unpopular. You only talk about moving forward with the same bad ideas that got us into this mess, even when the only sensible thing to do is pull the emergency brake. You are not mature enough to tell it like it is. Even that burden you leave to us children. […] And if solutions within the system are so impossible to find, then maybe we should change the system itself.
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I think it is insane that people are gathered here to talk about the climate and they arrive here in private jet.
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