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Who Is Greta Thunberg?

Greta Thunberg is a Swedish climate change activist who rose to prominence for inspiring widespread student-led protests around the globe. 

In May 2018, at age 15, Thunberg won an essay competition on climate change held by the Svenska Dagbladet daily newspaper. One Monday the following August she skipped school to sit in front of Sweden's 'Riksdag' Parliament with a home-made sign that read "Skolstrejk för klimatet" (School strike for the climate). 

 

Her protest quickly gained local attention as fellow students and even teachers joined her with signs of their own. Images of the protests and grassroots articles spread quickly on social media, fuelling further news features on student-led activism in mainstream media.

By December that year tens of thousands of school-aged students in countries including the US, the UK, Australia, and Japan marched demanding climate action, rather than attend school. Within two years climate-strike protests involving millions from diverse nationalities and backgrounds were being held.

Since her time sitting in front of her country's parliament, Thunberg has become a celebrated face of climate change action. In September 2019 she addressed the United Nations with a passionate speech that accused world leaders of failing future generations by not taking decisive action against global warming.

Thunberg was named Time Magazine's person of the year in 2019, and at the time of writing has been nominated for the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize.

Biographical details

Born: 3 January 2003, to opera singer Malena Ernman and actor Svante Thunberg.

As a person: Greta Thunberg has a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (along with related conditions such as attention deficit disorder and selective mutism), which she feels has provided her with skills and perspectives that provide a foundation for her protests.

 

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