Greta Thunberg is only 17 years old but has become one of the most influential individuals on the planet due to her dedication as a climate activist.
According to Thunberg, when she first learned about climate change at the age of 8, she became so depressed that she stopped talking and eating
. In August 2018, she began her school climate strikes, demanding that the Swedish government reduce their carbon emissions; on the first day she protested alone, claiming that while she did try to persuade other young people to join her, nobody was interested
After Thunberg’s lone protests gained traction on social media, thousands of students across at least 270 cities were inspired to participate in the movement
. Thunberg then began to be invited to give speeches at parliaments and forums, as well as the 2018 UN Climate Change Conference
Thunberg has been diagnosed with several mental health issues; “I was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, OCD, and selective mutism, [which] means I only speak when I think it’s necessary,” she said during a TEDx Talk in 2018. “Now is one of those moments.”
Despite the potential negative impact on her mental health, Thunberg has continued to travel to give speeches and inspire a generation full of youth activists across the globe. She has continued to be vocal about the climate change crisis - even though it has resulted in negative criticism from public figures - and has successfully pressured various politicians into acknowledging the severity of climate change
. She has also been named as one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People
. Thunberg's extreme passion for climate change has contributed to her massive social media following and gaining momentum on changing our impact on the Earth.