When Greta Thunberg first heard about climate change, her reaction was not what you'd expect from the average school kid. The news shook her so much that she decided to skip classes and stand in front of the Swedish Parliament with a banner that read “skolstrejk för klimatet” (school strike for climate).
Cut to March 15, 2019 when thousands of school students from over 1600 cities across 105 countries were inspired by the 16-year-old to take part in a similar protest demanding urgent action over climate change. Greta has now been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for launching this mass movement.
Greta has Asperger's syndrome, a disorder in which those affected have difficulties in social interaction. But the disability is actually a plus point according to her. "This helps me see things more clearly. I think a lot, especially if anything is bothering me, or if I am scared of anything." Greta told the Guardian.
Being a climate change nerd, she read extensively on the subject and when she came to know about the catastrophic impact of global warming, she was stunned. The then 11-year-old Greta went into a depression and lost 10 kg in just two months.
Slowly she started talking to her parents about her worries about climate change and they offered their support. For starters, the whole family decided to take trains instead of flights but this individual action was not enough for Greta. She realised that without political will, it is almost impossible to bring about change. And the only way politicians would hear anything was through a protest.
The political class across the world has so far not been proactive on the threat of climate change. So when she spoke at the UN Climate Change COP 24 Conference, she had a message for politicians: "You are not mature enough to acknowledge the fact and tell it as it is. I do not need your hope. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear that I fear."
Greta was nominated for the Nobel Prize by Freddy Andre Ovstegard, a Norwegian MP from the Socialist Party and two of his colleagues.
“When Greta sat down in front of the Swedish parliament and started a mass movement all around the globe for climate action, she made a contribution to peace too,” said Ovstegard.
In a tweet, Greta said that she was “honoured and very grateful for this nomination.”