Written by Natalie Mendoza
Greta Thunberg (pronounced as gre-ta tune-berg) is an inspirational Swedish young woman who proved to me that anyone could fight for climate justice and sustainability regardless of age and disabilities. Greta Thunberg has Asperger’s syndrome, which is a type of Autism Spectrum Disorder (Alter, Haynes, & Worland, 2019). People with Asperger’s syndrome tend to be rigid and inflexible, miss social cues and body language, do not recognize “social rules,” and have speech problems. At the same time, people with Asperger’s also tend to be bright, curious, and passionate. Many people do not realize a person has Asperger’s if they aren’t told because people with Asperger’s tend to be so advanced with respect to academics. Although people with Asperger’s are “different,” we are no less important than any other living organism. Greta Thunberg is an inspiration for anyone with Asperger’s who feels confused about how we can make a difference in society despite our awkwardness and differences.
Greta Thunberg became a climate activist at fifteen years old when she organized school strikes for the climate, where she stood outside the Swedish parliament building and protested the lack of government action to solve climate change (Krosofsky, 2021). Her climate strikes spread globally, and she has become a worldwide influence (Krosofsky, 2021). Additionally, Time magazine named Greta Thunberg the Person of the Year in 2019 for her activist work (Krosofsky, 2021).
Greta Thunberg is a powerful speaker because she is blunt. She uses every public speaking opportunity she has to impact both citizens and governments with her words. When she spoke to world leaders at the 2019 United Nations Climate Action Summit, Greta Thunberg
“You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words, and yet I’m one of the lucky ones. People are suffering, people are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction and all you can talk about is money and fairytales of eternal economic growth. How dare you? (Frazee, 2019).”
Few leaders are willing to speak this bluntly about crises like climate change, which is one of the reasons I admire Greta Thunberg. She increased the impact her speech had on listeners by being blunt. Greta Thunberg’s words are honest to a level that makes people feel uncomfortable. Truth is real regardless of whether or not people acknowledge it. Many people prefer to ignore ugly truths rather than confront them by avoiding thinking about them. Problems do not go away by pretending they do not exist. I far prefer leaders to confront the truth with blunt words rather than blunt the truth with placid words.
In addition to urging governments to transform a wasteful world into a sustainable society, Greta Thunberg lives as sustainability as possible. After she first learned about climate change, she motivated her family to stop eating meat, install solar panels, grow a vegetable garden, and stop flying (Alter, Haynes, & Worland, 2019). Greta Thunberg is a person who lives by her words and inspires others to do the same. She speaks the truth from her heart amygdala (the brain structure which controls emotions), and her actions match the science she speaks about.
Greta Thunberg is one of my greatest inspirations because she is a young woman with Asperger’s syndrome who is an intelligent, passionate, well-spoken climate activist who is changing the world. I am intelligent and passionate about climate change. I admire Greta
Thunberg, because I am also intelligent and passionate about climate change. Greta Thunberg is a leader for future leaders. Her courage and leadership demonstrated to me that age and disability do not influence a person’s ability to be a leader. Like Greta Thunberg, I am a young woman with Asperger’s syndrome who will influence the world and ensure equity for every living organism on this planet.
Alter, C., Haynes, S., & Worland, J. (2019). Time 2019 person of the year: Greta Thunberg. Time. Retrieved from https://time.com/person-of-the-year-2019-greta-thunberg/.
Frazee, G. (2019, September 23). Read climate activist Greta Thunberg’s speech to the UN. PBS Retrieved from https://www.pbs.org/newshour/world/read-climate-activist-greta-thunbergs-speech-to-the-un.
Krosofsky, A. (2021, August 24). 5 of Greta Thunberg’s greatest accomplishments to date. Green Matters. Retrieved from https://www.greenmatters.com/p/greta-thunberg-accomplishments.