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Greta Thunberg’s Father Wanted Her To Stay In School But Is Glad She Didn’t

by : Emma Rosemurgey on : 30 Dec 2019 12:40
Greta Thunberg's Father Wanted Her To Stay In School But Is Glad She Didn'tPA Images

Greta Thunberg’s father has revealed he initially thought it was a ‘bad idea’ for his daughter to miss school in order to take the ‘front line’ of the fight against climate change.

While people all over the world have taken inspiration from the 16-year old’s hard line attitude on environmental issues, Svante Thunberg said he was ‘not supportive’ of her missing school to attend the climate strike.

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However, he has said his daughter is much happier since becoming an activist, but he worries about the level of ’hate’ she has received since catapulting onto the world stage.

Greta ThunbergPA Images

While guest-editing Radio 4’s Today Programme, Sir David Attenborough told Greta she had ‘woken up the world’ to climate change.

Greta called Sir David on Skype from her home in Stockholm, Sweden, and told him he was her inspiration behind getting into activism.

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The naturalist told her she had ‘achieved things that many of us who have been working on the issue for 20 years have failed to do’, adding that she was the ‘only reason’ climate change had become a key topic in the recent UK general election.

Earlier this year Greta was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for her dedication to spearheading a global movement in forcing world leaders to acknowledge and take action against climate change, prompting school strikes all over the world.

Greta Thunberg Climate Talks Lisbon PortugalPA

Speaking to BBC News ahead of the Today Programme, Greta’s father revealed his daughter had struggled with depression for years before she began her school strike.

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‘She stopped talking, she stopped going to school,’ he recalled, adding it was the ‘ultimate nightmare for a parent’ when Greta began refusing to eat.

As well as seeking medical help, the family spent more time together in a bid to help Greta get better, and over the years they discussed climate change as she became more and more passionate about tackling the issue.

Svante said her daughter accused himself and his wife Malena Ernman, who are ‘very active’ human rights advocates, as being ‘huge hypocrites’ for not taking climate change seriously.

Greta ThunbergPA Images
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He said the 16-year-old gained ‘energy’ from seeing her parents change their behaviours to become more environmentally friendly, which included her father becoming vegan and her mother choosing not to travel by aeroplane.

Svante accompanied his daughter on her sailing expeditions to UN climate summits in New York and Madrid, however he says he didn’t do it to save the environment.

‘I did all these things, I knew they were the right thing to do,’ he said. ‘But I didn’t do them to save the climate, I did it to save my child’.

Svente said Greta has ‘changed’ and is now ‘very happy’ since beginning her activism:

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You think she’s not ordinary now because she’s special, and she’s very famous, and all these things. But to me she’s now an ordinary child – she can do all the things like other people can.

She dances around, she laughs a lot, we have a lot of fun – and she’s in a very good place.

He went on to say he worries about the level of hate she receives, predominantly of a result of ‘fake news’ being circulated, but he says his daughter deals with the criticism ‘incredibly well’.

What an inspiration.

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Emma Rosemurgey

Emma Rosemurgey is an NCTJ trained Journalist who started her career by producing The Royal Rosemurgey newspaper in 2004, which kept her family up to date with the goings on of her sleepy north east village. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and started her career in regional newspapers before joining Tyla (formerly Pretty 52) in 2017, and progressing onto UNILAD in 2019.

Topics: News, Activism, Climate Change, David Attenborough, Greta Thunberg

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BBC
  1. BBC

    Greta Thunberg's father: 'She is happy, but I worry'