Thundering Thunberg

A Profile of the Young Leader of the Climate Movement

Quinn Hughes, Staff Writer

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Greta Thunberg, a sixteen-year-old native of Sweden, an environmentalist, and an advocate for green policies to combat global warming, has been at the center of the student movement protesting world leaders’ climate inaction.

In the time she has been advocating for this international issue, she has become a household name, written and published a book, spoken at the United Nations and become the center of the media’s attention. Here is her story.

Born January 3, 2003 in Stockholm, Sweden, Greta Thunberg is the daughter of opera singer Malena Ernman and actor Svante Thunberg. Her first encounter with climate change came in 2011, at the mere age of 8, when an emerging awareness made her dissatisfied with how little was being done about the issue.

Shortly following this, Thunberg developed depression, became lethargic and stopped talking to people and by 14 was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and was selectively mute. However, Thunberg has prevented these major ailments from interfering with her actions to advocate for a healthy planet.

She began skipping school on Fridays to protest political leaders’ climate inaction outside of the Swedish parliament building, with the idea being that she has no future to study for if world leaders refuse to take strong action to curb carbon emissions.

Her actions have spread into a global movement. (see The Banner’s recent Opinion article on the local Philadelphia strike).

What with all the media surrounding climate strikes, Thunberg has found herself at the center of the news, the perfect platform to speak her mind. Unfortunately, she has not been met with purely positive reviews. While generating a buzz the world has never before seen surrounding the issue of global warming, Thunberg has also received criticism from many.

Michael Knowles of Fox News called Thunberg “a mentally ill Swedish child who is being exploited by her parents and by the international left.” Laura Ingraham, also from Fox News, compared Thunberg to the horror movie Children of the Corn, stating “I can’t wait for Stephen King’s sequel, ‘Children of the Climate.”

Some have even deemed her a “scarer of children,” frightening them into thinking politicians are doing wrong with their lack of legislation on the green bill.

But the majority of the public is on her side. She has received much support from citizens around the world and has been endorsed by several celebrities. Academy Award-winning actress Jane Fonda has moved to Washington D.C. for four months to support student strikers and help advocate the climate strike.

Thunberg was even invited to give a speech at the recent United Nations Climate Summit (which she traveled to via boat to avoid the carbon emissions of a plane ride!).

The fire has been ignited, and Thunberg is feeding the blaze. Her supporters believe in her. Many more people in the world salute her efforts. She has outshone her critics.

There is much more that needs to be done if we as a global community want to change the world. Thunberg shows us that no one is too young to have a voice. Now it is our responsibility to decide if we are going to join her.

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