Greta while speaking to the European Parliament, Strasbourg, April 2019
|Occupation||Student and climate activist|
|Political movement||School strike for climate|
Greta Thunberg is a Swedish teenager who is credited with raising global awareness of the risks posed by global warming and climate change, and with holding politicians to account for their lack of action on what Thunberg calls the "climate crisis".
Early life (there is no other)
Thunberg says she first heard about climate change in 2011, when she was 8 years old, and could not understand why so little was being done about it.
Three years later, she became depressed and lethargic, stopped talking and eating, and was eventually diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD), and selective mutism, which means she is unable to speak, except when she selects to, which usually occurs at the podium addressing a huge concert hall of climate change activists, and almost never occurs when her Mum asks you, "How was your day, Dear?" These maladies were surely a reaction to humankind's despoiling of the planet, or possibly to puberty and being ignored prior to the Junior Prom. Thunberg acknowledges that her diagnosis "has limited me before", but says she views autism not as an illness but her "superpower". Along the same lines, she developed a pronounced limp and went for a Handicapped Parking placard despite being too young to drive.
Thunberg challenged her parents to lower the family's carbon footprint by becoming vegan and giving up food. Commercial air travel was, of course, also out of the question. This in part forced her mother to give up her international career as an opera singer, the other part being chronic tone-deafness.
Activism in 2018
In August 2018, at 15 years of age, Greta took time off school to demonstrate outside the Swedish parliament, holding up a sign calling for stronger climate action, and for the legalization of underage vaping. Soon, other failing students engaged in similar protests in their own communities. Together, they organized a school climate strike movement, under the name Fridays for the F-F-F-Fucking Future. After Greta addressed the 2018 United Nations Climate Change Conference and then "mooned" them, student strikes took place every week somewhere in the world. In 2019, there were at least two violent, uncoordinated multi-city protests involving over one million pupils who didn't do their schoolwork.
Greta's father — who, like her mother, has given up his career so as not to upset her by having an impact on the air and water — does not like her missing school, but said: "[We] respect that she wants to make a stand. She can either learn things and be really unhappy, or nag other people and be happy". The other people, for their part, seem to enjoy being scolded that the planet will only exist for 16 more years, by someone who has only existed for 15.
In August 2019, Thunberg sailed across the Atlantic Ocean from Plymouth to New York City in a 60 ft racing yacht equipped with solar panels and underwater turbines. The trip was a carbon-neutral transatlantic crossing serving as a demonstration of Thunberg's declared beliefs of the importance of reducing emissions; discounting, as is customary, the carbon consequences of manufacturing the solar panels and turbines. The demonstration also had to exclude the carbon footprint of the daily helicopter airdrop of certified vegan dinners like free-range potatoes, as simply dropping a line into the ocean and catching fish would have planet-wide consequences, as well as not being fair to the fish.
The voyage lasted from 14 to 28 August 2019. While in the Americas, Thunberg attended two international climate change conferences and fifteen press conferences.
Greta is known for her blunt, profanity-laced speaking manner, both in public and to political leaders and assemblies. Unfortunately, a finishing school would surely aggravate her numerous maladies even worse than grade school did. She has never been seen in the same room with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, but would surely support the latter's "Green New Deal" manifesto, if she were ever to deign to return to the classroom to learn what it is. Some media have described her impact on the world stage as the "Greta Thunberg effect". This is because it is more flattering than calling it the Beavis and Butt-Head effect.