Greta Thunberg’s FINAL ‘School Strike for Climate’ as she graduates


Greta Thunberg has staged her last ever school climate strike today as she graduates at the age of 20 – five years after the Swedish activist and her classmates first walked out to draw attention to climate change.

After she began striking in 2018 to raise awareness of rising sea levels and temperatures, the young campaigner’s impact began to be felt worldwide in what became known as ‘the Greta Effect’.

Millions of young people have since taken to the streets to protest for the future of the planet, and Greta went on to speak at the UN and raise her cause with governments around the world.

Barely out of her teens, she is now one of the most recognisable figures in the world, and arguably the face of the fight against climate change.

Here, MailOnline charts Greta’s rise from a quiet schoolgirl to one of the most outspoken and impactful activists of her generation.

Great Thunberg has staged her last ever school climate strike today as she graduates at the age of 20

Great Thunberg has staged her last ever school climate strike today as she graduates at the age of 20

Greta and other climate activists protesting outside the Swedish Parliament in Stockholm

Greta and other climate activists protesting outside the Swedish Parliament in Stockholm

Started at home

Greta first found out about climate change in 2011 aged eight, and soon became depressed about the prospect of the planet dying.

She was later diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, OCD, and selective mutism – which she later pointed out, in reference to her climate change battle, means she ‘only speaks when necessary’.

In her first win for the climate, Greta convinced her parents that they needed to change their lifestyles. 

Initially unsure about her activism, and worried about her missing school, they soon came round to her Fridays for Future initiative.

Fridays for Future

Greta began missing school to strike in 2018. Her protests became part of the Fridays for Future movement

Greta began missing school to strike in 2018. Her protests became part of the Fridays for Future movement

Greta staged her first school walkout protest on 20 August 2018.

The schoolgirl, who had just started ninth grade, decided not to attend school until Sweden’s 2018 General Election on September 9.

Her decision to strike was sparked by Sweden’s hottest summer in over 260 years and raging wildfires in the country.

She staged her protest outside the Riksdag, and demanded that the Swedish government reduce carbon emissions in accordance with the Paris Climate Agreement.

She protested every day for three weeks during school hours under the banner Skolstrejk för klimatet (School strike for climate) – which she has used until today.

The movement has seen the mass mobilisation of young people against climate change, with children as young as five putting pressure on governments around the world.

Greta leading a Fridays For Future rally demanding action against climate change in Turin in 2019

Greta leading a Fridays For Future rally demanding action against climate change in Turin in 2019

UN Climate Conference 2018 

Greta’s passionate speech criticising adults for not doing enough to save the planet for their children went viral in 2018, sparking widespread climate change activism.

The precocious 15-year-old impressed the world with her speech, telling the leaders present that they were ‘not mature enough to tell it like it is’.

‘What I hope we achieve at this conference is that we realise that we are facing an existential threat. 

‘This is the biggest crisis humanity has ever faced. First we have to realise this and then as fast as possible do something to stop the emissions and try to save what we can save.’

UK Parliament speech

Greta addressed politicians, media and guests with the Houses of Parliament on April 23, 2019

Greta addressed politicians, media and guests with the Houses of Parliament on April 23, 2019

Greta held a talk for a cross-party group of MPs in 2019, with the notable absence of the then-Prime Minister Theresa May. 

‘We just want people to listen to the science,’ the 16-year-old told those assembled for the roundtable discussion on climate change.

‘The UK’s active current support of new exploitations of fossil fuels, like for example the UK shale gas fracking industry, expansion of North Sea oil, the expansion of airports as well as the planning permission for a brand new coal mine is beyond absurd.’

‘Did you hear me? Is my English OK? Because I’m beginning to wonder,’ Thunberg said.

Her visit coincided with Extinction Rebellion’s mass action across London, which saw days of disruption to roads and transport. 

Donald Trump ‘death stare’ 

Greta Thunberg's 'death stare' at Donald Trump (above) as he upstaged her at the UN Climate Summit on Monday has already become a viral meme on social media

Greta Thunberg’s ‘death stare’ at Donald Trump (above) as he upstaged her at the UN Climate Summit on Monday has already become a viral meme on social media 

Greta became an internet sensation yet again when she attended the United Nations Climate Summit in New York aged 16.

She told delegates ‘you have stolen my dreams and my childhood’ and that world leaders were ‘failing’ humanity.

Among those who didn’t attend was the then-US President Donald Trump 

As the pair briefly crossed paths at the UN headquarters, she was spotted giving him a steely look, labelled a ‘death stare’ by many online.

The enraged expression on her face quickly became an internet sensation, and a social media storm between the two ensued.

After her emotionally-charged speech at the UN, the U.S. President wrote that in a mocking tweet that Greta ‘seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future’.

But appearing on a Swedish talk show from New York today, the teenage climate activist said Trump’s ridicule ‘doesn’t make a difference’.

In December 2019, President Trump mocked her again after she was named Person of the Year for 2019 by Time

He tweeted: ‘So ridiculous. Greta must work on her Anger Management problem, then go to a good old fashioned movie with a friend! Chill Greta, Chill!’

Greta responded by changing her Twitter biography to: ‘A teenager working on her anger management problem. Currently chilling and watching a good old fashioned movie with a friend.’

She later reprised the back and forth during the 2020 presidential election, commenting on Trump tweeting: ‘Stop the count!’ with the text: ‘So ridiculous. Donald must work on his Anger Management problem, then go to a good old fashioned movie with a friend! Chill Donald, Chill!’

Sailing to the UN 

Greta arriving in the US after a 15-day journey crossing the Atlantic in the Malizia II, a zero-carbon yacht

Greta arriving in the US after a 15-day journey crossing the Atlantic in the Malizia II, a zero-carbon yacht

The eco-warrior used her 2019 UN speech to call out Trump on his climate record, but it was her mode of transport to the New York conference which got many talking.

The 16-year-old sailed into Manhattan on a zero-carbon emissions yacht to avoid using a plane’s gas emissions.

She was greeted by hundreds of activists when she stepped off the yacht near the World Trade Center.

She has spearheaded an anti-flying movement during her years campaigning, promoting travel by boat and train instead of high-carbon flying.

 Carried off by police

Police officers carry Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg away from the edge of the Garzweiler II opencast lignite mine in January

Police officers carry Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg away from the edge of the Garzweiler II opencast lignite mine in January

The Swedish climate activist was carried off by police during a protest at a mine in Lutzerath in January. 

Greta was again carried away by police officers during a protest in Oslo against a wind farm built on indigenous land in Norway.

The Swedish climate activist had joined indigenous Sami protesters in blocking access to the Norwegian foreign ministry to protest against wind turbines that remained in place on reindeer herding land, despite a court ruling.

What next? 

Greta Thunberg stands with a sign that reads School Strike for climate on what was 'technically' the last day of her school strike for action, ahead of her graduation

Greta Thunberg stands with a sign that reads School Strike for climate on what was ‘technically’ the last day of her school strike for action, ahead of her graduation

While her school striking days may be over, Greta has pledged to continue her weekly walkouts.

‘We who can speak up have a duty to do so. In order to change everything, we need everyone,’ she wrote on Twitter. 

‘I’ll continue to protest on Fridays, even though it’s not technically “school striking”. 

‘We simply have no other option than to do everything we possibly can. The fight has only just begun.’



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