|Greta Thunberg Quick Info
|4 ft 10¾ in
|Date of Birth
|January 3, 2003
Greta Thunberg is a Swedish environmental activist, whose fiery speeches and sustained campaigns have made her a global icon in the fight against institutional inaction on climate change. Greta has stated that she first read about climate change in 2011 but was disappointed with the fact that so little was being done about it. She first came into public consciousness when, in August 2018, she started protesting outside the Swedish parliament, urging greater action on global warming after massive heat waves and wildfires were caused by Sweden’s hottest summer in 262 years. Soon enough, she was joined by other students who had organized similar protests in their areas and communities. Together, the group organized a school climate strike movement under the banner Fridays for Future. The strikes had a snowball effect and very soon, student strikes were being witnessed around the world. In 2019, coordinated multi-city protests were witnessed, involving more than a million students across geographies. Greta’s movement was featured in a Vice documentary titled Make the World Greta Again in 2019. Her message is simple: that the European Union must honor its commitment, as part of the Paris Agreement, to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions by at least 40% by the year 2030.
She is also known for her pointed and blunt speeches, especially whenever she addresses political assemblies or business leaders, wherein she urges prompt action to contain the global climate crisis. Greta’s sudden rise to fame has made her both an iconic leader and a target of criticism. She has been honored with global awards, prestigious medals, and honorary degrees. On the other hand, she has also been criticized by many journalists, politicians, and political organizations who feel that her demands are too unreasonable and too idealistic. Greta has responded that she takes such criticism as a ‘badge of honor’. Either way, what nobody can deny is that she has sparked worldwide debate and movement around climate change, arguably the most pressing of the world’s concerns. Many in the global media have described her impact and influence as the “Greta Effect”. In May 2019, she published a collection of her speeches titled No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference, with the proceeds donated to charity.
Greta Tintin Eleonora Ernman Thunberg
Greta was a high school student in Stockholm. In July 2019, she decided to take a year-long sabbatical from school to focus on leading the movement against global climate change. Her parents and teachers have been respectful and supportive of her decision.
- Father – Svante Thunberg (Actor)
- Mother – Malena Ernman (Opera Singer)
- Siblings – Beata Ernman Thunberg (Younger Sister) (Singer)
- Others – Olof Thunberg (Paternal Grandfather) (Actor, Director), Mona Andersson (Paternal Grandmother) (Actress)
4 ft 10¾ in or 149 cm
41 kg or 90.5 lbs
Race / Ethnicity
- Fierce and blunt public speaker
- Keeps her hair in single or double braided pigtails
Best Known For
Her activism against institutional apathy about climate change and her blunt, rousing speeches in political assemblies. Her words, “You are failing us”, at the 2019 UN Climate Action Summit became a rallying cry for environmental activists around the world.
First TV Show
Greta made her TV show debut as “Herself” in a September 2018 episode of the Swedish talk show Breaking News med Filip och Fredrik (Breaking News with Filip and Fredrik).
Greta Thunberg Favorite Things
- Pets – Dogs
Source – Financial Times
Greta Thunberg Facts
- She started her activism at home, convincing her parents to go vegan and give up air travel, thereby reducing the family’s carbon footprint. This meant that her mother had to give up her international career as an opera singer. Greta has acknowledged that her parents’ unwavering support has been her biggest source of inspiration. The family’s story is depicted in their 2018 book Scenes from the Heart.
- Greta has revealed that she was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, OCD, and selective mutism in 2014. She has acknowledged that these diagnoses have limited her physically but have never dimmed her fighting spirit.
- She has a black labrador named Roxy.
- In an interview, she stated that the inspiration for her school strike came after watching the March for Our Lives protest that was carried out by students in the United States, after the shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
- Greta has acknowledged the vital role of social media in spreading her movement around the world. For instance, a Finnish bank, Nordea, retweeted one of her tweets to more than 200k followers. Compounding outreach of this nature helped her campaign to spread around the world like a wildfire.
- In May 2018, Greta was among the winners of the Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet‘s article writing competition on climate change.
- In November 2018, she was nominated for the Children’s Climate Prize. However, she declined participation because many finalists would have had to fly to Stockholm for the ceremony, which would harm the environment.
- Time magazine has honored her by naming her in the list of “World’s 25 Most Influential Teenagers of 2018”. She was also awarded the 2018 Fryshuset scholarship as “Young Role Model of the Year”.
- In February 2019, the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres endorsed Greta’s school strikes, admitting that his generation of political leaders had failed to respond adequately to the challenge of climate change.
- On International Women’s Day in 2019, Greta was honored as “The most important woman of the year” in Sweden. It was based on a survey by Institute Inizio.
- Greta has also been criticized for her overly simplistic and straightforward approach. Some notable detractors of her movement have included prominent global leaders/organizations such as Vladimir Putin, Emmanuel Macron, and OPEC countries.
- In February 2019, she shared the stage with the President of the European Union, Jean-Claude Juncker, where he committed that from 2021 to 2027, 25% of EU’s budget would be dedicated towards the mitigation of climate change.
- On March 13, 2019, members from the Swedish and Norwegian parliaments nominated Greta as a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize. On March 31, 2019, Thunberg received the German “Goldene Kamera Special Climate Protection” award.
- She was awarded “The Prix Liberté” from France on April 1, 2019, a newly instituted prize that aims to honor youngsters engaged in fighting for peace and freedom. Greta donated the €25,000 prize to organizations working for climate justice.
- She won the Norwegian Fritt Ords Prize on April 12, 2019, which honors freedom of speech and environmental conservation. Greta, once again, donated the prize money to a lawsuit that was attempting to prevent Norwegian oil exploration in the Arctic region.
- In April 2019, Time magazine named her in their list of the “100 most influential people” of 2019. In the same month, Chilean organization, Fundación Milarepa para el Diálogo con Asia honored her with the “Laudato Si” prize.
- The University of Mons awarded Greta with an honorary degree in May 2019. In the same month, artist Jody Thomas painted a symbolic mural of Greta on a wall in Bristol, England, depicting the bottom half of her face underwater.
- A YouGov poll in Britain reported in June 2019 that after Greta’s movement, concern about the environment among common people had risen to record levels. In the same month, Amnesty International awarded her with the “Ambassador of Conscience Award”.
- In June 2019, Swedish Railways reported that train occupancy had risen by 8% from the last year, reflecting rising concern after Greta’s refusal to use air travel about the impact of flights on carbon dioxide emissions. The phenomenon has been described on social media as #jagstannarpåmarken, which translates to #istayontheground.
- In July 2019, she was awarded the “Geddes Environment Medal” by the Royal Scottish Geographical Society. The same month, she decided to take a year’s sabbatical from her school, aiming to lead the global movement against climate change.
- In August 2019, Greta embarked on a 15-day voyage across the Atlantic Ocean, in a 60 feet yacht equipped with solar panels and underwater turbines. The journey was aimed at highlighting the importance of reducing carbon emissions.
- On September 3, 2019, she won the first-ever “Game Changer Award” at GQ’s Men of the Year Awards. The award was especially instituted to make a statement about gender equality.
- On September 23, 2019, UNICEF hosted a press conference where Greta and 15 other young activists announced that they had filed a lawsuit against 5 nations (Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany, and Turkey) that were not on track to meet the carbon dioxide emission reduction targets they had committed to, in their Paris Agreement pledges.
- On September 25, 2019, she was named as joint-winner of the “Right Livelihood Award”, Sweden’s alternative Nobel Prize.
- In September 2019, Greta was honored with the “Keys to the City of Montréal” in Canada, by the mayor of the city.
- In October 2019, Greta Thunberg rejected Environment Prize From Nordic Council. She stated that she was traveling so she could not attend the ceremony and that her environmentalist group needed effort from those in power to use science in the best possible ways to protect the environment. These awards will not help either one.
- In 2019, Greta was told by then-President of the United States, Donald Trump to ‘chill’ on Twitter. In 2020, Greta did the same with him when he was seen panicking (as he wanted the polls to stop counting votes) amid the election results. She tweeted a similar message to Donald as he did a year back in 2019.
- On August 9, 2021, it was publicly announced that she would be featured in the inaugural edition of the Vogue Scandinavia magazine’s cover.
- In July 2023, it was revealed Greta had been charged with “disobeying police orders” during a June climate protest in Sweden.
Featured Image by Anders Hellberg / Wikimedia / CC BY-SA 4.0