11 Need To Know Facts About Greta Thunberg

Greta Thunberg is sometimes referred to as the Joan of Arc of Climate Change. And rightly so: this 16-year-old Swedish environmental activist has been fighting climate change with such urgency that she has set the precedent for how we as humans need to act if we are to save the planet that we call home. 

Even a year ago, it’s unlikely that we would have even recognised Greta Thunberg if she walked past us in the street; now she’s been photographed with the most famous politicians in the world and appeared on the front cover of glossy magazines. Here is everything you need to know about her (so far…).

Greta staged the first-ever climate school strike in August 2018. Inspired by a school class walk-out in Florida in protest of US gun laws, she felt it was the best way to get attention and raise awareness for the issue she felt so passionately about. She wasn’t mistaken. 


Because of the strike, Greta missed around three weeks of school until she eventually got the attention of the Swedish Parliament. This ultimately led to the start of a global movement.


Greta was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome four years ago. Rather than viewing it as a hindrance, she recognises its advantages, such as her interest in reading climate studies, which in turn spurs on her activism.


Greta has visited many countries in the world but she refuses to fly. It took her 32 hours by train to get to Davos in Switzerland for the World Economic Forum. She also sailed in a zero-emission yacht for two weeks across the Atlantic to get to New York for the UN’s Climate Action Summit.


As well as her views on travel, Greta’s environmentalism spreads to all aspects of her life, including being a vegan.


Greta’s parents also have impressive careers. Her Mum, Malena Ernman, is a Swedish opera singer. Her Dad, Svante Thunberg - an actor and author - is named after Svante Arrhenius, the Nobel prize-winning scientist who first calculated how CO2 could lead to the greenhouse effect.


Greta was named as one of TIME Magazine's Most Influential Teens of 2018. She also appeared on the cover of the August 2019 issue of British GQ and the cover of i-D in May 2018.


Greta was named as one of TIME Magazine's Most Influential Teens of 2018. She also appeared on the cover of the August 2019 issue of British GQ.


We’re certain awards will be coming Greta’s way thick and fast: she has just received the Amnesty International’s Ambassador of Conscience Award for 2019.


Greta is not afraid to speak her mind to some of the most prominent figures in the world. She recently told politicians in Washington DC, at a meeting of the Senate climate crisis task, “I know you are trying [to address climate change], but just not hard enough.”


Greta has been nominated by three Norwegian MPs for this year's Nobel Peace Prize. If she wins, she will be the youngest recipient since Malala Yousafzai, who was just 17 when she received the prize in 2014.

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