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Thunberg: ‘I still don’t understand why people actually listen to me’

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She’s one of the most influentia­l voices of her generation but environmen­tal activist and climate change campaigner Greta Thunberg is modest when it comes to talking about the impact she has made.

The 18-year-old from Sweden has become a global force for good following her lone protest in 2018 which saw her strike for three weeks outside the Swedish parliament holding a sign saying “School Strike for Climate”.

But ask her and she says she’s still surprised at the effect she’s had.

“I still don’t really understand why people are actually listening to me. Also, because I’ve always been a shy, invisible girl at the back that no one listens to, I’ve always been very socially awkward and I haven’t really been able to be involved in the social game, so to speak.

“And to go from that, to be someone who many people listen to is, of course, a very big contrast. So of course, it’s very strange. I don’t really understand why.

“I guess it was just the right thing to do, and the right timing, and people were

maybe ready for that kind of thing.”

In a new BBC series, viewers can follow her journey during a year off school in 2019 as she explores the science of global warming and challenges world leaders to take action.

Over three episodes, she witnesses at first hand the consequenc­es of climate change and also meets climate scientists and experts, among them naturalist and broadcaste­r Sir David Attenborou­gh.

She journeys through Canada, where she visits a glacier and a national park in the Canadian Rockies and learns how a small change in temperatur­e has allowed an insect infestatio­n to kill nearly half the trees in the park.

In Europe, she meets Polish miners who have lost their jobs and who talk frankly to her about their fear of the impact that climate change policies will have on their industry and culture.

“Every single trip, every single meeting has impacted me, in different ways,” she concludes. Greta Thunberg: A Year to Change the World is on BBC1 on Mondays at 9pm and also on BBC iPlayer.

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Greta Thunberg

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