There is persona and there is reality in Greta Thunberg. It is Valentine’s Day in her hometown of Stockholm, but there’s only wind, no hearts and flowers. A few hundred kids mill about, with a smattering of adults. If there were not signs reading “Our Earth, We Only Have One,” it could be mistaken for a field trip to the ABBA museum.
But where is Greta? I find a scrum of reporters interviewing a child in a purple puffer jacket, pink mittens, and a homemade-looking knit hat. It takes me a minute to realize that it’s Greta. She is 17, but could pass for 12. I can’t quite square the fiery speaker with the micro teen in front of me. She seems in need of protection.
Of course, this is emphatically wrong. Greta Thunberg has Asperger’s, which, she says, gives her pinpoint focus on climate minutiae while parrying and discarding even the smallest attempt at flattery. We stand near the Swedish Parliament house, where less than two years ago Thunberg started her Skolstrejk för klimatet, School Strike for Climate.
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