Facts about Greta Thunberg
Greta Thunberg Biography
Greta Thunberg is the Swedish teen whose persistent and plainspoken activism made her the face of the youthful climate change protest movement in 2018. She was named Time magazine’s Person of the Year for 2019.
Greta Thunberg was born in Stockholm to theatrical parents: her mother is the opera singer Malena Ernman and her father is the actor Svante Thunberg. Greta Thunberg says that she first heard about the climate change crisis at age 8, when she wondered why so little action was being taken to prevent it.
Seven years later, she began a solitary protest in front of the Swedish Parliament building in August of 2018, holding a sign reading Skolstrejk för klimatet (“school strike for the climate”). By the end of her three-week strike, she had become famous on social media. She began to receive invitations to join other protests and even speak publicly on climate change.
Her fame rose again in August of 2019, when she visited North America — traveling on a racing yacht equipped with solar panels to avoid the carbon emissions of airplane travel. She took part in climate protests across the continent during a three-month visit, even speaking at the United Nations Climate Action Summit on September 23, 2019.
Her efforts earned her mocking comments from world leaders including Russian dictator Vladimir Putin (who said she was “poorly informed”) and Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro (who called her a “brat”). US President Donald Trump tweeted that “Greta must work on her anger management problem, then go to a good old fashioned movie with a friend! Chill Greta, Chill!”
Thunberg returned to Sweden by boat in December of 2019. Later that month, Time named her its Person of the Year.
As a girl, Greta Thunberg was “diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, OCD [obsessive-compulsive disorder] and selective mutism,” she said in a TED talk recorded in 2018. Selective mutism is “a complex childhood anxiety disorder characterized by a child’s inability to speak and communicate effectively in select social settings, such as school,” according to the Selective Mutism, Anxiety & Related Disorders Treatment Center.