Greta Thunberg

Swedish climate protection activist (born 2003)

Greta Thunberg (born 3 January 2003) is a Swedish activist. She is known for her work against climate change, a popular example of youth activism. She started protesting on 20 August 2018, outside of the Swedish Parliament in Stockholm.[1] In December 2018, she attended the UN Climate Change Conference. In the next month, she gave a speech on the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Greta Thunberg

A picture of Greta Thunberg at the European Parliament on 4 March 2020.
Greta Thunberg on 4 March 2020
Greta Tintin Eleonora Ernman Thunberg

(2003-01-03) 3 January 2003 (age 21)
Occupation(s)Student, environmental activist
Years active2018–present
MovementSchool strike for the climate
RelativesOlof Thunberg (grandfather)

She has received many awards. Three Norwegian MPs nominated her for the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize.[2]

On 15 March 2019, approximately 1,400,000 people around the world, mainly students, protested against climate change.[3] On 24 May 2019, a second major protest took place.[4]

In December 2019, Time magazine named Thunberg Time Person of the Year 2019.[5]

Early life


Greta Thunberg was born on 3 January 2003.[6] She is the oldest daughter of Malena Ernman, an opera singer and actor Svante Thunberg.[7] Her grandfather is actor and director Olof Thunberg.[8]

At a TEDx speech in November 2018, Thunberg stated that she first heard about climate change at the age of eight, but could not understand why so little was being done about it.[9] At age 11, she had depression and stopped talking. Later, she was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD), and selective mutism. She added that selective mutism means that she was speaking only when she needed to and that "now is one of those moments". She further added that the "spectrum" was an advantage "as almost everything is black or white".[9] She said: "I feel like I am dying inside if I don't protest".[10] She hands out leaflets outside the Swedish parliament with the phrase "I am doing this because you adults are shitting on my future."[10]

Her father doesn't like that she misses school but says: "[We] respect that she wants to make a stand. She can either sit at home and be really unhappy, or protest, and be happy".[11] To lower her family's carbon footprint, she insisted on becoming vegan and give up flying.[12] She said she persuaded her parents to give up eating meat by making them feel guilty. "I kept telling them that they were stealing our future." [13] Her mother gave up her international career as an opera singer.[11] Despite invitations to speak at international events, Greta also avoids flying.[14]

Thunberg says her teachers are divided in their views about her missing class to make her protest. She says: "As people they think what I am doing is good, but as teachers they say I should stop."[10] A teacher who supports her said: "Greta is a troublemaker, she is not listening to adults. But we are heading full speed for a catastrophe, and in this situation the only reasonable thing is to be unreasonable."[10]

In May 2019 Penguin, a British publishing house, published No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference, which is a collection of her speeches.[15] Penguin published Scenes from the Heart, the Thunberg family's story, in August 2018. All earnings from these books will be donated to charity.[16] In the same month, artist Jody Thomas painted a mural of Thunberg on a wall in Bristol. It portrays the bottom half of her face as if under rising sea water.[17] In 2022 she published The Climate Book.


  1. "The Swedish 15-year-old who's cutting class to fight the climate crisis". The Guardian. 1 September 2018.
  2. Vaglanos, Alanna (14 March 2019). "16-Year-Old Climate Activist Greta Thunberg Nominated For Nobel Peace Prize". Huffington Post. Retrieved 22 March 2019.
  3. Shabeer, Muhammed (16 March 2019). "Over 1 million students across the world join Global Climate Strike". Peoples Dispatch. Retrieved 22 March 2019.
  4. "Students From 1,600 Cities Just Walked Out of School to Protest Climate Change. It Could Be Greta Thunberg's Biggest Strike Yet". Time. 24 May 2019..
  5. "Greta Thunberg is Time's 2019 Person of the Year". Retrieved 11 December 2019.
  6. Lobbe, Anne-Marie (13 December 2018). "À 15 ans, elle remet les dirigeants mondiaux à leur place!" (in French). Sympatico. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  7. "School Strike for Climate: Meet 15-Year-Old Activist Greta Thunberg, Who Inspired a Global Movement". Democracy Now!.
  8. Santiago, Ellyn (14 December 2018). "Greta Thunberg: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know". Retrieved 5 February 2019.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Thunberg, Greta (12 December 2018). School strike for climate – save the world by changing the rules. TEDxStockholm. Stockholm: TED. Event occurs at 1:46. Retrieved 29 January 2019. 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.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 Crouch, David (1 September 2018). "The Swedish 15-year-old who's cutting class to fight the climate crisis". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 12 May 2019.
  11. 11.0 11.1 "The Swedish 15-year-old who's cutting class to fight the climate crisis". The Guardian. 1 September 2018. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
  12. "Climate crusading schoolgirl Greta Thunberg pleads next generation's case". The Straits Times. 5 December 2018. Retrieved 22 December 2018.
  13. "Environmentalist Greta Thunberg Made Her Parents Feel Guilty For Eating Meat And Dairy". 29 April 2019. Archived from the original on 12 May 2019. Retrieved 12 May 2019.
  14. "Greta Thunberg, la paladina del clima: "Mamma non vuole ma salverò il pianeta"". (in Italian). 11 March 2019. Retrieved 19 April 2019. Ho smesso di usare l'aereo, ho smesso di mangiare carne e latticini
  15. Thunberg, Greta. "No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference". Penguin. Archived from the original on 22 September 2019. Retrieved 29 January 2020.
  16. Thunberg, Greta (24 May 2019). "Send us your questions for climate activist". The Guardian.
  17. Giant Greta mural painted in Bristol, BBC, 31 May 2019

Other websites