Greta Thunberg, the Swedish student activist who has become a worldwide sensation after skipping school on Fridays to become a climate advocate, has grown up with a form of autism called Aspergers. The activist was recently bullied for autism. In August, after a 15 day trans-Atlantic trip on a sailboat, Greta arrived in New York to attend climate change summits. But when she addressed a crowd, some Twitter viewers of her videoed speech called her “disturbed”. Twitter has rushed to her defence. Thunberg herself has responded to the cyber-bullies by saying that she is “sometimes a bit different,” but that in the right circumstances “being different is a super power.” Autistic supporters of Greta have rallied around her on Twitter, to say how her ability to speak of her autism as a young person has inspired them to celebrate being autistic. Thunberg has promised not to “mask” the person she is and continue to advocate for our planet. She says before she started her school striking, she had no energy, no friends, and did not speak to anyone.
She sat at home alone and suffered from eating disorder until her brilliant mind inspired her to take action to protect the climate. She says that people who see her diagnosis as an “illness” are ignorant to the potentials that autism offers. Greta’s daring trans-Atlantic trip testifies to how brave she is. She refused to fly, because of the carbon cost of plane travel. And her sailboat was equipped with solar energy. Luckily, the trip was not as uncomfortable as she imagined and despite some rough weather patches on the sea, Greta did not get seasick.