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After high school: Greta Thunberg’s last school strike


Five years ago, Greta Thunberg demonstrated for the climate for the first time while she was at school. After 251 weeks, the school strikes are over for her: the Swede has graduated from high school. She wants to continue protesting.

It all started five years ago with a large, white protest sign that read “Skolstrejk för klimatet” – with a similar poster, Greta Thunberg showed up for the last time on a Friday school strike today. The reason for the end: The 20-year-old graduated from high school, which means that her time as a truant ends after 251 weeks of strikes. She can no longer skip classes to protest in front of the Swedish parliament because she no longer goes to school, the young Swede wrote on Twitter.

But she still wants to protest on Fridays – it’s just not a real “school strike” anymore. “We simply have no choice but to do whatever we can. The fight has only just begun,” wrote Thunberg. In addition, she provided a group photo of her regular protest in front of the Swedish Reichstag and another of herself with the typical cap of Scandinavian high school graduates.

First a lonely protest, then a worldwide movement

Thunberg was only 15 years old when she sat alone in front of Parliament in Stockholm in August 2018, during school hours, to protest against her country’s climate policy. Teenagers from all over the world followed their example – within a very short time the worldwide movement “Fridays for Future” developed from the lonely protest.

It all started five years ago with a lonely protest: Greta Thunberg at the age of 15 during her strike in front of the Swedish parliament

“When I started striking in 2018, I never expected it to lead to anything,” Thunberg said. Suddenly, their protest turned into a global movement that was growing every day. In 2019, millions of children and young people in over 180 countries went to demonstrations instead of to school. Then you had to find new forms of protest in the corona pandemic, but over time you went back to the streets.

“A lot has changed since we started and we still have a lot to go on,” wrote Thunberg. The world is still moving in the wrong direction. Those in power will be allowed to sacrifice marginalized and climate crisis-affected people and the planet in the name of greed, profit and economic growth. This brings us closer to potential ecological and climatic tipping points beyond human control.

Meeting with Obama and Merkel

The core messages of “Fridays for Future” have always remained the same: the world must listen to scientific findings, phase out fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas, and finally start treating the climate crisis as a real crisis. Thunberg herself became world famous with her protest and her haunting words. She traveled by yacht to a climate summit in New York, met personalities such as former US President Barack Obama and Hollywood star Leonardo DiCaprio. Together with her German comrade-in-arms Luisa Neubauer and two Belgian activists, she also met with Angela Merkel in the Chancellery in Berlin in the summer of 2020 to demand more courage and commitment from the then Chancellor when it came to climate protection.

Thunberg received prominent support for her last “school strike for the climate”: musician Patti Smith, who was in Stockholm for a concert, came to the demo. Smith told the Dagens Nyheter newspaper that she had tears in her eyes when she met Thunberg. On Twitter, the singer acknowledged the 20-year-old Swede’s fight for the climate and congratulated her on graduating from school.

With the degree, Thunberg can now start studying. Their exact plans are not yet publicly known.