We Are All Greta: Be Inspired to Save the World by Valentina Giannella, Manuela Marazzi (Illustrator)

We Are All Greta enables readers to understand the climate emergency and learn what can be done to help. As part of the #WeAreAllGreta blog tour running this week, Luna’s Little Library is sharing an exclusive extract from the book.  

You can also download six eye-catching posters from the publisher’s website, ready for your next school strike!
Click here –
https://www.laurenceking.com/product/we-are-all-greta/

We Are All Greta

Stockholm, Sweden. It is shortly after breakfast on 20 August 2018, and Greta is tying her laces and getting ready to leave the house, just like millions of other youngsters. Greta’s daily routine is, however, about to change today. She is not going to school and her world (and ours too) will never be the same.

Greta Thunberg was born on 3 January 2003. Her mother, Malena, is an opera singer (who represented Sweden at the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest), a celebrity and a writer, while her father, Svante, is an actor. The Thunberg family tree boasts another famous Svante – Svante Arrhenius, who won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1903 as the first scientist to examine the links between increasing emissions of carbon dioxide and the rising temperature of the Earth. Studies of global warming, begun in the 1960s, were based on his calculations in physics and chemistry. Entertainment, culture, science – Greta’s background seems to promise a great future without a care in the world. But then something in this story throws a spanner in the works.

Greta was a curious child. When she turned eight, she began to wonder why her mum and dad were strict about switching off the lights, not wasting water when brushing your teeth and never throwing food away. She decided to find out more and started reading books and becoming informed. She discovered climate change and its consequences for the health of the planet. She was worried – she probably wanted to think about something else, but she had her own particular way of looking at things and she just couldn’t let it go: ‘If burning fossil fuels was so bad that it threatened our very existence, how could we just continue like before?’

The scientific bent that runs in the family and the support of her parents helped Greta learn as much as possible. Things started badly – Greta read everything she could find and the information clogged up in her mind like autumn leaves in a drain. She became depressed at the age of eleven, stopped eating and lost 10 kg in two months. She stopped speaking. Her parents took her to doctors who diagnosed Asperger’s syndrome and selective mutism. Asperger’s is a mild form of autism that does not interfere with learning or language, but instead often shows itself in single-minded dedication to the study of individual subjects and a lack of social inhibition in furthering one’s own ideas. Selective mutism, on the other hand, is an inability to speak about things or with people if they do not trigger a deep connection. The only moments when Greta’s eyes lit up and her words flowed were when she shared her concerns about the future of the planet: ‘what are we doing to save ourselves, to save our children, my grandchildren?’ Understanding that this was the key to helping her, her parents asked her to explain it to them first and then tell it to others. They listened. Her mother stopped taking planes to opera houses abroad where she was due to sing, her father drove an electric car and they no longer ate meat. The more Greta realized that she was able to make a difference, the stronger and more powerful she felt.

‘We cannot solve a crisis without treating it as a crisis. … We have run out of excuses and we are running out of time.’ Instead of going to school on that morning of 20 August, Greta sat down on the pavement outside Sweden’s Riksdag parliament building, a placard in hand with a few words written on the cardboard: ‘School strike for climate’. The summer of 2018 was incredibly hot in Sweden, peaking at an unprecedented 35°C and unleashing wildfires that attracted aid from every country in Europe, including aircraft that dropped water bombs. Elections were due to be held on 9 September and Greta decided that ‘if no one else is going to do anything, I will’. Day after day for twenty days, she sat in front of the parliament building. She began to attract attention from all corners. Her teachers were first, and they were divided between those who considered her behaviour inappropriate and those who came and sat with her, followed by numerous other ordinary citizens and activists, both young and not so young; and then the first journalists came. Twitter and Facebook broke the story in the virtual world and, within a couple of weeks, the hashtag #SchoolStrikeForClimate had gone global.

 

We Are All Greta: Be Inspired to Save the World, by Valentina Giannella and illustrated by Manuela Marazzi is Published by Laurence King http://bit.ly/weareallgreta

 

 


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