Updated: Oct 28, 2021
By: Elisabeth Mann
“Right here, right now is where we draw the line. The world is waking up. And change is coming whether you like it or not.”- Greta Thunberg
Greta Thunberg was born January 3rd, 2003 in Stockholm, Sweden to an opera singer mother, Malena Ernman, and actor father, Svante Thunberg. She first heard about climate change when she was eight years old. She became so depressed that nothing was being done about it that she developed an eating disorder. Greta Thunberg began her activism work at the age of 15 years old when she would stand outside the Swedish Parliament to call upon Parliament members to take action on climate change. Thunberg’s logic is deeply rooted in science and she encourages others to also look at the science behind climate change.
According to BBC News, Thunberg’s protest went viral on social media and her movement began gaining international attention. Thunberg has spent the last couple of years traveling the world by train and yacht joining students in the fight for climate change. In September 2019, she traveled to the UN climate conference where she called out politicians for only relying on young people to take action on climate change. It was at this conference she made her well-known speech stating “How dare you? I shouldn’t be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean, yet you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you?” This speech stirred up mass support and conversations regarding climate change.
According to Britannica, on top of being an activist for climate change, Thunberg also raises awareness for Asperger syndrome. She was eight years old when she found out she had Asperger syndrome which is characterized by abnormalities in social interactions but “normal” intelligence and language development. People with this syndrome find focus deeply on a specific interest, Thunberg’s being climate change. She tweeted “I have Aspergers and that means I’m sometimes a bit different from the norm. And- given the right circumstances- being different is a superpower.” By becoming such a powerful activist Thunberg has had to endure harsh criticism from public figures regarding her appearance and Aspergers. She has used her voice to encourage others that being different is not a bad thing and that you can use your differences as an asset to make a difference. She also shows that you can change the world no matter how old you are and that small actions make a difference.
“I don’t care about age. Nor do I care about those who do not accept science. I don’t have as much experience, and therefore I listen more. But I also have the right to express my opinion, no matter my age. Being young is a great advantage, since we see the world from a new perspective and we are not afraid to make radical changes.”
Thunberg’s mission is to pressure leaders and politicians to take action. She has done this through the “Fridays For Future” protests, meeting world leaders, and speaking at assemblies to debate and discuss climate change solutions. Through her work, she has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2019 and became the youngest person to ever be honored as Time’s person of the year. She has also urged politicians to not listen to her but to listen to the scientists who have been studying the effects of climate change and warned us what could happen if we do not make changes.
Thunberg plans to travel to Mexico, Canada, and South America to see the regions most affected by climate change. Greta is an inspiring young woman who proves to other young people that they can make a difference. She is a prime example of a strong leader and advocates for change. Thunberg is urging us to take action now, or there will be nothing left to take action for.
"Greta Thunberg: Who Is She and What Does She Want?" BBC News. February 28, 2020. Accessed March 08, 2021.
"Greta Thunberg." Encyclopædia Britannica. Accessed March 08, 2021.
"Greta Thunberg: Teenager on a Global Mission to 'make a Difference'." The Guardian. September 26, 2019. Accessed March 08, 2021.