Greta Thunberg: ‘Only people like me dare ask tough questions on climate’
For a teenager who first became famous for skipping school, Greta Thunberg has come a long way. The 17-year-old from Stockholm is today a global champion of the environment movement and the uncompromising scourge of climate crisis deniers. In the process, she has earned the disdain of Donald Trump and the plaudits of figures including the pope and David Attenborough. For good measure, Time made her the magazine’s Person of the Year for 2019.
It is an astonishing journey that will be brought to our screens this week with the release of I am Greta, a 97-minute documentary that follows the activist, who has autism, on trips round the world as she raises the banners of green concern among young campaigners.
At the United Nations, we see her warning its secretary general, António Guterres, that “political leaders have failed us – but now change is coming”. At the Vatican, we see her greeted by a huge crowd chanting “Go Greta, save the planet!” and, later, flotillas of boats sailing out to meet her when the zero-carbon yacht that had carried her across the Atlantic to attend a UN climate meeting arrives in New York.
As I am Greta makes clear, the world has reacted in a remarkable way to this slight, determined figure. Even more astonishing is the nature of the figure at the centre of these events, for Thunberg is adamant that her condition – she freely acknowledges she is autistic – has played a critical role in helping her get her message across in a clear and simple manner.
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