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Greta Thunberg turns 18: what the climate activist wishes for her birthday – politics abroad

She is the most famous truant in the world and, as the founder of “Fridays For Future”, is still a role model for millions of children. No teenager has been in the public eye as much as she has in recent years. Greta Thunberg is now of legal age.

Happy Birthday, Greta! Or in Swedish: Grattis, Greta!

Today the world-famous climate activist turns 18. She revealed her modest birthday wish to the British “Sunday Times”: a little light. “The headlights on my bike are broken, it gets very dark in Sweden in winter,” she said.

“I don’t need new clothes”

She also revealed that she not only doesn’t want any new clothes, but also doesn’t want to buy any more herself: “I don’t need any new clothes. I know people who have clothes, so I would ask them if I can borrow them or if they have something they no longer need “.

In Sweden, too, the 18th birthday brings a number of rights: drive alone, for example, get married – and choose what will be particularly important to you. “Every choice is a climate choice,” Thunberg has often said. Now she can cast her own vote, including in the next Swedish parliamentary election in late summer 2022.

This is how Greta became famous: During her school strike in front of the Reichstag, she held up her sign saying “Skolstrejk för klimatet” (School strike for the climate)

This is how Greta became famous: During her school strike in front of the Reichstag, she held up her sign saying “Skolstrejk för klimatet” (School strike for the climate)Photo: dpa

She had argued with the mighty of the world about environmental and climate protection. Donald Trump and Jair Bolsonaro poisoned the young Swede. On the other hand, she received a lot of recognition from Pope Francis and Angela Merkel. “Time” made her “Person of the Year” in 2019. And in October 2020 a documentary about her was published, “I am Greta”.

The fight against the climate crisis, which she has been leading since summer 2018, does not change anything for Thunberg when she comes of age. She continues to insist that the climate and environmental crisis must be treated like a real crisis – immediately. “The most important thing is to understand that we need to reduce emissions here and now – not in 2025, 2030 or whatever. The emissions we are causing now determine our future, ”she recently told the Swedish daily“ Svenska Dagbladet ”. Even if she can withdraw at any time, she is not thinking of quitting. “No, this is too important.”

Greta Thunberg in March with EU Commission head Ursula Von der Leyen

Greta Thunberg in March with EU Commission head Ursula Von der LeyenFoto: imago images/ZUMA Wire

The Stockholm native, who was born on January 3, 2003, has long been concerned with the issue of climate change. According to her own statements, she first heard of environmental degradation and global warming when she was eight years old. This gave rise to worries that resulted in depression in childhood.

Greta goes on strike and becomes a star

In the summer of 2018 she and her father bought a piece of wood on which she wrote “Skolstrejk för klimatet” (school strike for the climate) in large black letters. At the beginning of the new school year, the then 15-year-old girl crouched in front of the Reichstag in Stockholm to call on Swedish policy to strengthen climate protection and to follow the Paris climate goals. As a sign of the urgency of their concern, Thunberg skipped school – initially every day, then only on Fridays.

Their action spread rapidly on social networks. The climate movement Fridays for Future emerged, and Thunberg’s silent solo protest developed within months, with millions of people all over the world taking to the streets for more climate protection, following Thunberg’s example. And the girl, not even 1.60 meters tall, proved: “No one is too small to make a difference.” Nobody is too small to make a difference.

Since then, no one has raised awareness of climate and environmental problems as publicly as the teenager from Stockholm. Nobody has become such a great role model for millions of mainly young people worldwide – and hardly anyone has been showered with so much hatred and insults, especially on the Internet.

These experiences have also shaped Thunberg. She now protects her privacy strongly. Interviews with her have become rarer – and when they do, she urges her to focus on climate issues rather than on her as a person.

Greta hat Asperger

Thunberg is actually reserved, has a quiet voice and a subliminal sense of humor. She has Asperger’s, a form of autism that she herself describes as a benefit. A lot of things are simply either black or white for them, and there is often no middle ground for them, she says. In relation to the impending climate catastrophe, this means: A little bit of world saving is simply not possible. “There are no gray areas when it comes to survival.”

Greta polarizes

To this day, Thunberg has not been able to pick up everyone with her message. Their vegan lifestyle, which renounces new clothes and air travel, is too radical for some. But even if you don’t agree with everything Thunberg says or do, you have to admire her courage and determination, said her Swedish compatriot Björn Ulvaeus, the Abba star, once about her. Thunberg was “like a defiant and deeply thoughtful Pippi Longstocking,” he said. “I think Astrid Lindgren would have liked Greta.”

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