Does climate change make you worried, sad, or angry? Teenager Greta Thunberg felt all those emotions and even became very depressed. Then she decided to do something about it.
- Greta Thunberg lives in Sweden with her mother, who is a famous opera singer, and her father, an actor and writer. She has always quiet and small. A few years ago, she was diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome.
- As a child, she was very upset when she learned about climate change. She started reading lots of books and watching documentaries. What she learned made her even more upset. She developed selective mutism.
- Finally, she began telling her parents about her fears. At first, they tried to tell her everything was okay, but she kept talking. Then her parents started reading the books and watching the documentaries with her.
- Her parents realized how serious a problem climate change is. They made big changes to their lifestyle. They stopped traveling by plane and stopped eating meat.
- In 2018, Greta decided to do something bold. She sat on the steps of the Swedish Parliament with a sign about climate change. She went on strike, refusing to go to school until the government listened to her.
- That first day, she sat alone on the steps. But soon, people began to join her. She sat on the steps every day, no matter the weather, until the Swedish elections. Her persistence inspired other people. Soon people in 71 countries were striking with her.
- Then she was asked to speak before an audience of thousands at the People’s Climate March rally. She is very honest about climate change and demands that business and world leaders make change.
- Selective mutism: The inability to speak or communicate in certain situations, such as school, due to anxiety
- Strike: Refusing to attend work, school, etc.
Questions and Answers:
Question: If Greta has selective mutism, how can she speak in front of a large crowd?
Answer: Greta is still introverted. She doesn’t like social situations. But her passion around climate change has motivated her to speak out about it.
One of her other strengths is that she can become very focused on something and she sees things in black and white terms.
Many people with Aspergers are this way. She continues to care and worry about climate change after others have been distracted and moved on.
Watch one of Greta’s speeches: