‘Now I Am Speaking to the Whole World.’ How Teen Climate Activist @GretaThunberg Got Everyone to Listen #ActOnClimate #ClimateCrisis

Greta Thunberg in Stockholm screen shot from the Time Magazine website May 19, 2019.

Here’s an in-depth report from Suyin Haynes that’s running in Time Magazine. Click through and read the whole thing (and then do one thing to mitigate Global Heating today). Here’s an excerpt:

Thunberg attributes her determination to her diagnosis of Asperger’s, a mild form of autism spectrum disorder. “It makes me see the world differently. I see through lies more easily,” she says. “I don’t like compromising. For me, it’s either you are sustainable or not — you can’t be a little bit sustainable.” Her openness about her diagnosis, and willingness to share about her experiences of depression, anxiety and eating disorders, are another reason why many see Thunberg as a role model. “To be different is not a weakness. It’s a strength in many ways, because you stand out from the crowd.”

Not that all of the attention has made her terribly impressed. She indulges a brief smile at a mention of President Barack Obama’s tweet in praise of her, but she returns quickly to her larger message. “I believe that once we start behaving as if we were in an existential crisis, then we can avoid a climate and ecological breakdown,” she says. “But the opportunity to do so will not last for long. We have to start today.”


“People are taking their cues from Greta,” says Naomi Klein, activist and author of This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate. “There’s something very hard to categorize about her, and I think because she’s not looking for approval and is not easily impressed, people don’t know what to do with that.”

Thunberg has been greatly influenced by Klein’s work and has welcomed her support. But Klein thinks the teenager doesn’t really need anyone’s advice. “I don’t think I would deign to tell Greta what she should do in the future. She is following her own path with such clarity, and she has tremendously good instincts.”


Thunberg’s main goal is for governments to reduce emissions in line with the Paris Agreement, limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C over pre-industrial levels. In October 2018, the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a landmark report warning that carbon emissions would need to be cut by 45% by 2030 to reach this target. “The report made it very clear that we have to act now,” says Myles Allen, a co-author of the report. Since the price of failing to heed these warnings will be paid by young people, Thunberg believes the school strike follows an inevitable logic. “We are children, saying why should we care about our future when no one else is doing that?” she says. “When children say something like that, I think adults feel very bad.”

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