I Am Greta: from schoolgirl to superstar

Superhero: Greta says her Asperger’s gives her laser focus and describes it as a superpower. © Getty

Do young people know best? Greta Thunberg was just 15 when she became famous for her climate protest in Sweden. Now, a film has been released following the story of her life so far.

What’s happening

In the Atlantic Ocean, a single boat moves through the water. Inside, a teenager sits curled up and looks out at the sea.

The sky is grey, and the waves are very high. But the boat keeps going on its mission. It is on its way to New York with a very special passenger: Greta Thunberg.

Find out more

This is a scene from a new film about the activist Greta Thunberg. In 2019, she was invited to New York to speak at a big meeting about climate change. She decided to go.

But there was a problem: Greta does not travel on planes.

Instead, the activist began a two-week journey across the Atlantic Ocean in an eco-friendly yacht called the Malizia II.

Greta became famous when she skipped school to protest for climate action when she was 15. The film follows her life since then.

At some moments in the movie, Greta is mocked by powerful world leaders like Donald Trump. She ignores the bullies and keeps fighting.

One critic who watched the film said that “she is the child that makes her elders appear childish.”

Do young people know best?

Some say…

No. Teenagers like Greta are unusual. Other young people should spend their time learning, having fun and playing with their friends. That is how it should be. Greta agrees. In the film, she says she would much rather be at home with her family and enjoying being young like a normal teenager.

Others think…

Yes! Greta is not the only one who has done amazing things: Billie Eilish was 14 when her song went viral. Marley Dias set up 1,000 Black Girl Books when she was 10. And this month, a 12-year-old inventor made a nuclear fusion reactor in his parents’ garage. Adults should see that sometimes, young people DO know best.

You Decide

  1. Do you think young people deserve more respect from adults?

Activities

  1. Write the script for the first scene of a film about your life so far. Where would it take place? Who would be there?

Some People Say...

“People always tell us that young people are going to save the world, but there is simply not enough time to wait.”

Greta Thunberg

What do you think?

Word Watch

Greta Thunberg
Greta has Asperger’s syndrome, a condition that makes some communication difficult, but Greta calls it her superpower. She says it makes her more focussed on her goals.
Activist
Somebody who stands up for and fights for a cause they believe in.
Eco-friendly yacht
Malizia II is a racing boat with solar panels that use the sun’s power to provide electricity. It uses wind to power itself forward. In this way, it does not leave a carbon footprint.
Mocked
To mock somebody is to make fun of them in a mean way.
Donald Trump
The President of the United States. In the film, he makes fun of Greta and describes climate change as a “hoax” – something that is made up to trick people.
Critic
Mark Kermode is a famous film critic. A critic is somebody whose job is to judge and write opinions about music, film, food or books.
Elders
An elder is an older person.
1,000 Black Girl Books
A charity that gives books with black female main characters to schools to inspire young black girls.
Nuclear fusion reactor
A kind of physics reaction that produces a lot of energy without producing any dangerous waste. It could be an important way to make electricity in the future.

Subjects

PDF Download

Please click on "Print view" at the top of the page to see a print friendly version of the article.