“I Am Greta”

Amy Iheme, Opinion Editor

Her name is Greta, and she wants you to panic.

The Hulu-original movie,I Am Greta”, was released on Hulu on Nov. 20. The film explores now 17-year-old, Sweden-native Greta Thunberg, and her journey as a renowned climate change activist. 

The film opens with Greta and her famous sign “SKOLSTREJK FOR KLIMATET” (School Strike for Climate) as she misses school to strike outside of the Swedish parliament building. Many people who pass by Greta pay her no attention but the ones who do are unhappy that she is missing school for what they think is a cause greater than her. Well, joke’s on them because Greta planned to strike outside the parliament building everyday until after the Swedish election. Greta’s father, Svante Thunberg, said that he is not in favor of Greta missing school because of her protesting, but he just wants her to be happy.

Greta did not just start protesting out of nowhere. She watched a film at her school a couple years ago that displayed the dramatic effects about climate change and was deeply saddened by it, so much so that she fell into depression and stopped eating to the point that she said she almost starved to death. She also has selective mutism in addition to Asperger’s Syndrome. While she was sick, she did not talk to anybody but her mother, father and her sister for three years. 

What made her change her behaviors? She did. Greta said that she did not want to be sad when she was able to be a part of the solution. She said that her and her family used to live a high consuming lifestyle when she was younger, but now they practice what she preaches. Her dad drives an electric car, Greta is vegan and she does not use airplanes as means of transportation.

Not even to fly to America for the Global Climate Strike conference in New York City. 

How did Greta get there? She, her dad and a skilled sailor sailed all the way from Stockholm, Sweden to a port in New York City, New York. 

I honestly thought that Greta would have regretted her decision to be eco-friendly and sail for weeks to speak at a conference because of the voice diaries she made while boating. But nonetheless, she stuck it out. I acknowledge her resilience as she commited to traveling by train to speak at the different conferences all over Europe.

The film does not only include the good of Greta’s career. The backlash from politicians, including US President Donald Trump, about her drive and passion to bring awareness to the climate crisis was emphasized in the film. From the looks of it, Greta is unfazed by their talk and even laughs out loud as she reads a review about herself to her dad. The amount of death threats that get sent to Greta’s home and the hate she receives in general worries her parents– especially her dad, Svante, as he is the one who travels with her around the world. 

Svante is so worried that he learned CPR to prepare for the worst. Once I realized why Svante was learning CPR, the film was kind of sad to watch despite Greta fighting the good fight. After one of the conferences she spoke at in Europe, an interviewer asked her how it felt to “suffer” from Asperger’s Syndrome in which she responds by saying she “wouldn’t say I suffer from it but I have it.” I agree with Greta. If anything, if it were not for her Asperger’s, she wouldn’t have made such an impact on the topic of climate change because Greta even said that Asperger’s makes her “focused like a laser.” 

If you watch closely, you can see the subtle personality changes and appearance changes in Greta towards the end of the film, which are very heartwarming in my opinion.

Greta’s first steps to change has inspired not only the 7 million people, which is the largest number of protestors for climate change since Greta’s beginning per her documentary, to strike for climate change, but I think that her film has the impact to pressure world leaders who are not already apart of the Paris agreement to join. Her speeches are demanding and do not fall short of calling out the leaders who fail to recognize the climate change crisis by comparing them “spoiled irresponsible children.”

Overall, the movie is a hit. Greta’s journey of activism does not end after the credits of the film. She still protests every Friday (#FridaysforFuture) and her efforts have created a rippling effect all across the globe. Seeing her signature plain red aluminium water bottle and simple braided pigtails really conveys the message that anyone can make a difference.