|Greta Tintin Eleonora Ernman Thunberg
|5 Feet 4 inches
|16 years old
|Beata Ernman Thunberg
|Svante Thunberg(father) and Malena Ernman(mother)
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With the world engulfed with internet and kids getting hungover on drinking too much of technology, what do you expect of a teenage girl on her sweet sixteen? Probably tensed over a pimple that popped overnight due to a natural hormonal disbalance or a new trend that needs to be followed just to impress the peers. Well, not every girl.
Once in a blue moon, someone stands above the crowd and breaks the stereotype. Yes, we are talking about the girl who shouldered the weight of billions of people and chose to speak about it. She is none other than Greta Thunberg, the Person of the Year 2019 according to Times.
Let’s Get To Know Her First
Greta Thunberg is Swedish by her nationality and celebrates her birthday on the 3rd of January every year. She currently resides in Stockholm with her parents, sibling, and two dogs Moses and Roxy. Her father Svante Thunberg is an actor and mother Malena Ernman is an Opera singer by profession.
The girl grew up in an artistic environment alongside her sister Beata Thunberg. Beata is two years younger than Greta and pursues her passion of singing. Both the sisters are battling their way through the horrors of ADHD and OCD from an early age.
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Thunberg is a normal girl; however, you look at her. She dresses casually and loves her sweatpants and Velcro sneakers. But, it is not what you see aesthetically but the braveheart of the girl that shook the whole world off of their comfortable chairs and forced them to peek into the gravity of the situation. So, what is the situation?
A Need For Change
With problems like nuclear wars and countries debating over man-made boundaries, a simple but lurking catastrophe is getting overlooked. Yes, we are talking about CLIMATE CHANGE. Climate change?
Yeah, we have been hearing about it for several decades and reading articles on the counter-measures. The world leaders must have been doing something right?
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Exactly! We, humans, have become so busy with our own lives and dreams that we have forgotten that it’s the planet that matters the most. The welfare of our surrounding that needs attention, not our never-ending greed.
And why are we learning moral stuff today? Because a teenager who goes by the moniker Greta has addressed the matter before world leaders while the grown-ups are busy coping with daily life blemishes.
How Did She Get Into The Whole Scene?
To discover her first approach to the whole climate change and environmental activist thing, we have to go further back into her past. Believe it or not, Greta’s father Svante Thunberg is related to a Nobel Prize-winning chemist Svante Arrhenius who researched the negative effects of CO2 in the atmosphere.
Greta, however, started seriously thinking on the matter when she was a grade-schooler. When one of her teachers showed the whole class a video of climate change and its effects on the whole eco-system, the girl felt extreme grief for her planet.
In fact, the kid took the subject so seriously that she stopped eating, became malnourished, got hospitalized, and went into depression at the age of eleven. Can you believe that?
Seeing their child’s health deteriorating day by day, Greta’s parents started changing their lifestyle. As a way to cheer up their daughter, they gave up eating meat, installed solar panels at their home, started growing their own vegetables, and stopped flying by air.
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This meant an end to her mother’s career who performed across Europe. Svante also took a break from his job to care for his daughter. Such is the unconditional love of parents. The love definitely improved Greta’s condition. After some months, she slowly started interacting with people.
As for Greta, she is diagnosed with Asperger. She does not shy away from sharing her condition with people. On the contrary, she is thankful for her condition.
The girl believes that she would not have taken the topic seriously enough has she not been diagnosed with the specific condition. Her way of observing and processing things is different from that of a neurotypical person.
Her Rise To Stardom
When we say stardom, we do not mean anything that remotely associates with designer attires, unnecessary gossips, and relationship scandals. Greta is a normal high school girl with normal priorities. Truth be told, she does not want any of the popularity. But I would say it is a bit late for that as the girl has grown up to be an Internet sensation.
It all started in May of 2018 when the young Greta wrote an essay on the topic of “Climate change”. The essay proved to be so impactful that it got published in a Swedish Newspaper. Such exposure means the girl caught the eyes of several people involved in environmental affairs. Soon enough, some Scandinavian climate activists contacted her.
Greta could not let go of this humongous opportunity. She suggested an all-out school-strike including students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who had recently involved in a protest against gun violence in the U.S. She predicted the strike to last until September of 2018 which was the deadline for Sweden elections.
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Initially, the girl’s parents and other activists were a little skeptical on the idea. A girl going on protests while ignoring her classes does not seem fit for any parents at all. But for Thunberg, it was just the start of the massive support that had yet to come across her path. She remained unwavering on her cause.
The next thing you know, the girl started giving out flyers with extinction rates and carbon budgets. She knew that information alone was not enough to catch the attention of people. So, she attached her personal info in the flyer with a twist of humor on the top. Her last line read something like this:
Since you adults don’t give a damn about my future, I won’t either.
If you think this was bold enough then her following act got even more attention. On the 20th of August, 2018 she stood in front of the Swedish parliament with a home-made sign that read school-strike. The blue hoodie and her big backpack were the only support she could get against the cold that day.
The first day passed by with a handful of journalists passing by and questioning about the protest. As usual, the girl finished her lunch at 3 o’clock and rode home with her father some hours later. Despite her declaration of protest on her social media, Swedish-native passed her first day pretty unnoticed.
The real deal started on the second day. At first, a few more joined the girl. This followed with some more participants resulting in hundreds and thousands in the days to come. The thing escalated so quickly that several teenagers across the globe started their own protest in their hometown.
By the end of 2018, thousands of schoolers from Europe joined the movement. In January, 35,000 students protested in Belgium with Thunberg as their inspiration. 250,000 In NY City, 100,000 in London, 1.4 million in Berlin, and millions in India, China, Pakistan, Antarctica, etc summed up to a record of 4 million people standing up for the planet.
The movement quickly reached the hearts of millions of parents who watched their children scream for their planet. People of every age group joined the cause. Just after fourteen months of protesting, Greta, a weak-looking individual became the symbol of rising global rebellion.
Powerful Words And Global Movement
With such support backing her up, it seemed like the girl could even start a political revolution had she wanted. At the heat of the moment, she got the invitation to speak on several occasions including the ones in Stockholm, London, and Brussels.
In December of 2018, the girl ended the year with a strong speech that shook the world. The platform was at the United Nations COP24 in Poland. Her words truly reached the hearts of all the attendees and the ones that watched the little girl change the world’s views on climate change from their television couch.
These are the exact words of the girl:
You are not mature enough to tell it like is. Even that burden you leave to us children. But I don’t care about being popular. I care about climate justice and the living planet.
This much exposure made the girl a symbol of the movement. On September of 2019, the girl got the invitation to pour out her words on the UN Climate Action Summit. The summit took place in New York City.
Thunberg had reached her destination after a long yacht trip. She traveled across the Atlantic on a zero-emissions yacht. Of course, she was not alone. Her proud father and her crew were there to help her on her physically small but huge steps.
The trip had taken her a total of two weeks. She stepped her foot in NY on the 28th of August. There she spoke with former President Barack Obama. The girl also spoke before the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the House Select Committee located in Washington D.C. on the 18th of September.
Greta on her way to NY where she attended the massive 4 million people movement. Source: Business Insider
The little girl barely knew the leaders and hot-shots of the political world. With her casual and blunt way of speaking, she emphasized on only one thing. She wished the leaders of the world take notice of the warnings given by scientists for a long time.
Just two days later, the girl led a humongous crowd of protestants across the streets of New York City. The thing looked almost unreal and holds the record of the largest climate protest in history with 4 million participants. The next day, Greta addressed her demands at the UN Youth Climate Summit.
This brings us to the topic of her famous speech at the United Nations Climate Action Summit. On the 21st of September, the girl delivered a powerful speech among the world leaders. The thing can be almost compared with the dream speech of Martin King Luther.
With leaders, lawmakers, and the U.N Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, as part of her audience, Thunberg gave a speech that will be remembered for several decades to come. Without a shred of fear in her eyes, she pointed the so-called leaders of the world and ridiculed them on their never-ending pursuit of money and economic growth.
She further emphasized on the degrading ecosystem and the fear of mass extinction. The 16-year-old accused them of destroying her childhood and addressed the attendees with How Dare You!
Greta further added that the leaders had been looking away from the clear signs given by scientists. She warned them about the young generation’s movement towards the whole situation and ended her words with somewhat of a threatening sentence: We Will Not Forgive You. What a courageous thing to say!
Some days later, Greta joined her hands with some other activists and filed a complaint against five countries which include France, Germany, Argentina, Turkey, and Brazil. As it seems, these countries had not honored their Paris Agreement Pledges. In doing so, they had violated the Rights of the Child Treaty as per the UN Convention.
The Result Of The Whole Situation
With such powerful words from a tiny girl, the whole world went into a situation of mental conflict. The speech had moved the hearts of millions of people around the globe including some big names such as Donald Trump.
If you are not already aware, President Donald Trump has a different view on the whole climate change matter. He believes that the whole thing is an exaggerated natural phenomenon and the things that are happening today, were meant to be accordingly.
As such, he tweeted his view on the whole matter quite mockingly. He wrote: She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!” Of course, brave Greta would not let the thing get to her.
Infact, the girl decided to reply to the tweet in her own way. She changed her personal description on twitter account temporarily. The sentence read: “A very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future.” Way to go girl.
In December of 2019, Greta attended the UN Climate Change Conference held in Madrid, Spain. She also attended another climate change program in the city and told the people that hope was not confined within the COP25 walls but free within them.
In March of 2019, Thunberg got nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Her contribution on the whole climate change situation had brought forth a revolution. So, it was only a matter of time, the girl got appreciated for her task.
The 2019 Person Of the Year: Greta Thunberg
Not only that, she became the 2019 Person of The Year according to Times Magazine. She is the only person of her age-group to grab such an honor.
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