Barely sixteen, with two plaited pigtails that give her a pre-adolescent aspect, and the look of ironclad determination in her serious face, Greta Thunberg has been speaking truth to power for almost a year. The mission of this young Stockholm schoolgirl, unknown to the media until last autumn, is to save the planet by compelling politicians to act on global warming.
A charming novelty? It may have appeared that way at first when, at the end of August 2018, armed with a placard she skipped school to stage a one-girl ‘school strike for climate’ sit in outside the Swedish parliament to protest her government’s non-compliance with the Paris climate agreement. Except that, ever since, the eco warrior has amassed an army of followers, and not just on social networks. On top of her 700,000 Twitter and 2 million Instagram followers add the hundred’s thousands of young people around the world who have rallied to her #FridaysforFuture movement. As the momentum built, she attended the COP24 in December, where she met with the Secretary General of the UN, Antonio Guterres, and in January her speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos caused a sensation. The following month she called a general strike which was held on March 15th in more than 120 countries. That put an end to the patronizing and saw her go from local curiosity to global phenomenon who has everyone from Barack Obama to Arnold Schwarzenegger eating out of the palm of her hand. Behind the fascination that she elicits, there is her age of course, but above all it is her speeches, plain and forceful, which point out the inconsistencies and contradictions of the powerful who are supposed to know better, shattering the wall of adult rhetoric with the sensibility of a child, full of sincerity and relentless pragmatism.
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