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Climate Change

09th Oct 2022

Greta Thunberg explains she has daily ‘laughing attacks’ and says her Asperger’s lets her see through ‘bulls**t’

Tobi Akingbade

Say it how it is

Greta Thunberg has challenged the perception that she’s an ‘angry teenager’ and says those closest to her know differently.

The 19-year-old climate activist gained recognition when she was 15-years-old after spending her Fridays sat outside the Swedish parliament building calling for more serious action on climate change.

Speaking about her activism and the impact suffering from Asperger’s syndrome has had on her work,  Thunberg said: “It’s [Asperger’s] helped me see through a lot of the b******* because they say, ‘Oh yeah, we’re not in line with the Paris Agreement so far, but at least we’re taking small steps in the right direction’.

“Some people might see that as though we’re trying, but I see it as we’re so far away from what we need to be doing for even the bare minimum.”

She also told Elle UK: “People seem to think of me as an angry teenager – they obviously haven’t met me. At least two or three times a day I get laughing attacks where I can’t breathe. It can be anything.”

 Thunberg took to the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury Festival earlier this year to deliver a speech on climate change, and she shared her opinions on the concept of hope, and suggested society work to redefine what it means to be hopeful in the face of the climate crisis, saying “hope means taking action”.

“First thing is, hope for whom? Is it for us?” she said.

“People living in financially fortunate parts of the world who are very much to blame for the climate emergency – maybe not us individuals but us in this part of the world – or hope for those who are actually being affected by the climate crisis?

“I don’t think hope is something that can be given to you, you have to create it yourself. Hope means taking action. I think that we need to redefine hope because it’s being used against us.

“If there is hope you don’t need to do anything, but that is the opposite of hope.”

Ms Thunberg is set to launch her new book later this month. Titled “The Climate Book”, it is a collection of more than 100 contributions from figures such as economist Kate Raworth, writer and activist Naomi Klein and author Margaret Atwood.

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