Two years ago not many people had heard of Greta Thunberg, who was still a teenager from Stockholm, Sweden who was concerned about the climate crisis.
Today, she is still a teenager from Stockholm, Sweden who is concerned about the climate crisis but in those 24 months she has gone from a schoolgirl to a leading voice on the subject of climate change, has appeared on magazine covers, met world leaders, had books published and gave an iconic speech at the United Nations.
This all came about because on August 20, 2018 she decided that she wouldn't go to school that Monday and wouldn't return until September 9 following heatwaves and forest fires in Sweden. Inspired by the March for Our Lives marches in America, which protested against gun violence, Thunberg positioned herself outside the Swedish government building with a sign reading 'Skolstrejk för klimatet' which translates as "school strike for climate."
She then went on to win an essay writing competition about the crisis in a Swedish newspaper and before she knew it her message was reaching millions of people around the world, with numerous other schoolchildren following her lead and skipping classes to protest politicians to make a difference about climate change.
Although championing the words and actions of a young girl instead of actually taking action against the dangers she has been highlighting might be missing the point of her activism there is little denying that she has fully embraced the spotlight and not let adults off the hook, while also proving that she has an excellent sense of humour. So, as it is two years since she started the school strikes here are 24 of her best moments in no particular order.
1. Her first-ever strike
What better place to start than her first-ever strike in Stockholm. Thunberg has carried on doing the strikes at least once a week since this momentous day in 2018.
2. When a Mastermind contestant randomly thought her name was ‘Sharon’ and then Greta changed her name on Twitter to it
Thunberg is very good at Twitter and doesn't miss any opportunity to poke fun at herself or others. Earlier this year a now-legendary moment occurred on Celebrity Mastermind when the actor Amanda Henderson, thought that Thunberg was called 'Sharon.' Yes, Sharon. The clip soon went viral and rather than ignoring it the young Swede instead briefly changed her name on Twitter to Sharon cementing her status as a bonafide legend at just 17-years-old.
3. When she changed her Twitter bio to reflect criticisms from Trump
Thunberg has also made minor changes on Twitter to hit back at politicians who have dared to criticise her. After she was crowned as Time Magazine's 'Person of the Year,' a bitter Donald Trump told her to work on her 'anger management problem and watch an old fashioned movie'.
5. And again with Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro
It's not just Trump who has felt her scorn. The outspoken right-wing Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro found himself being mocked after he called the activist a 'pirralha' which is the Brazilian word for 'brat.' Not letting the criticism from a grown man get to her, she simply changed her profile to the aforementioned word.
6. And for Vladimir Putin
For some reason, a young girl having concern for the future of the planet really gets under the skin of older men who should know better. In October, 2019 after Russian president Vladimir Putin called her "a kind but poorly informed teenager" she changed her bio to follow suit.
& @GretaThunberg using her bio to take it next level 🔥. haters gonna hate & #Putin just got played......… https://t.co/3bZQc9TY9P
— Johan 🇰🇪🇸🇪🇯🇲🇧🇩🇿🇲🇱🇰🇩🇪 (@Johan 🇰🇪🇸🇪🇯🇲🇧🇩🇿🇲🇱🇰🇩🇪)
7. When she dressed as herself for Halloween
What's the scariest thing a climate change denier can imagine? Well, it's probably Greta Thunberg, which is why she dressed up as herself for Halloween last year.
So today is Halloween. I don’t celebrate it back home, but I thought I might give it a try.
And apparently when it… https://t.co/e6Ah9blXkW
9. When she took down Meat Loaf, who said she had been brainwashed into thinking climate change was real
We haven't quite figured out why older men are so threatened by Thunberg but when they are she often has the perfect response. In January, when speaking to the Daily Mail, rock star Meat Loaf said that he felt sorry for the activist and believed that she had been brainwashed.
I feel for that Greta. She has been brainwashed into thinking that there is climate change and there isn’t. She hasn’t done anything wrong, but she’s been forced into thinking that what she is saying is true.
Her response, as you probably guessed, was perfect.
It’s not about Meatloaf.
It’s not about me.
It’s not about what some people call me.
It’s not about left or right.… https://t.co/ft8shTuX2J
This moment happened at the UN in September 2019, when Thunberg gave her blistering speech (more on that later). However, the look that she gave Trump on that day will probably go down in history. If looks could kill, aye?
Greta Thunberg glares at Trump as he passes her at UN https://t.co/APx7L1VovX
Just a few months after she started the school strikes, her inspiring speeches were turned into a book called No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference. It was published in May 2019 and saw her named author of the year by British bookseller Waterstones. The book was preceded by Scenes from the Heart which is written by Thunberg's parents. In March 2020 she released another book, this time called (I Know This To Be True): On truth, courage & saving our planet.
15. She appeared in a Pearl Jam music video
16. And in a The 1975 song
17. When she met fellow climate change activist Leonardo DiCaprio
The Hollywood star, who is also passionate about raising awareness of the climate crisis, is a rarely humbled man but even he had to acknowledge the work and effort that Thunberg has put into the issue, calling her a 'leader of our time.'
18. When she met Barack Obama
They even fist-bumped.
19. When she called her Asperger’s a “superpower”
Thunberg has Asperger's syndrome a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects her during social interactions and in nonverbal communication. Rather than let this burden her she has embraced it and called it her 'superpower'
When haters go after your looks and differences, it means they have nowhere left to go. And then you know you’re wi… https://t.co/0LHxi6ZUa4
We've left the best two until last. If Thunberg decides in a few years that she isn't up for the activism anymore or if by some miracle the crisis is solved she can always look back at this moment as the point when she had the entire planets attention.
24. Time Magazine’s person of the year 2019
When she started the school strikes in 2019, Thunberg probably didn't want to be Time 'Person of the Year.' She still might not want to but that being said, this is still a landmark moment for those fighting the climate crisis.