Written by Andrew Montford
The rise to fame of Greta Thunberg, the teenage climate activist, has been nothing short of extraordinary. Less than a year ago, she was an unknown schoolgirl from Sweden, albeit an unusual one: she is the daughter of a famous opera singer and an actor.
Thunberg also has Asperger’s syndrome, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and selective mutism. The latter, she says, ‘basically means I only speak when I think it’s necessary’. ‘Now is one of those moments,’ she said in a Ted talk watched hundreds of thousands of times on the topic that first brought her into the public eye: her decision to stage a ‘school strike’ last August to draw attention to climate change.
Thunberg’s profile has only grown since. Her appearance at the UN climate conference in Poland propelled her to international fame. Most recently she was in Davos. Her message to the billionaires at the World Economic Summit was stark: ‘I want you to panic’ about climate change.
Greta’s steely gaze and call to action have won her legions of fans online. She certainly makes for a good story: the sweet girl who is moved to climate action and ends up as an unlikely international celebrity.
However, her sudden appearance in the limelight has led to some pointed questions: is Greta’s celebrity status less to do with chance and more to do with a carefully orchestrated public relations campaign?
Read the rest of this essay here.
(H/T Climate Change Dispatch)
PHOTO CREDIT: By Anders Hellberg – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=77270096