April 23, 2019
“Scenes from the heart”
By the Ernman-Thunberg family (Beata and Malena Ernman, Greta and Svante Thunberg).
Translated from Swedish. Original title: Scener från hjärtat
Polaris Publishers 2018
Also available in German and will be available in more languages.
In August 2018, Greta Thunberg, aged 15, sat down outside the Parliament of Sweden, beginning her School Strike for the climate. This started a worldwide movement of young people for a world with zero emission of carbon dioxide.
Seven years earlier Greta had learnt in school about the pollution we cause to the world. After the lesson the teacher said: “Now I am flying off to New York for a wedding.” This hypocrisy, to which we adults have got accustomed, started the rebellion in Greta.
She has Aspergers syndrome, which means, among other things, that she believes we mean what we say. Her uncompromising attitude is her strength and her burden.
Greta later developed severe anorexia. Her younger sister developed ADHD with obsessive-compulsive disorder. The mother, the world-renowned opera singer, Malena Ernman, has learned to live with her own ADHD. She believes that this “aberration” also explains her remarkable “superpowers”, her ability to learn an opera in two days or to work three jobs simultaneously.
The situation in the family became very difficult for all four members. The father Svante Thunberg had taken care of the household duties since the children were born to make their mother’s profession possible. The problems of the two daughters finally made it necessary for both parents to devote almost all their time to them.
Greta was the main driving force behind the uncompromising dedication to a life with minimal environmental impact. The mother gave up flying, which meant she gave up her international career.
Greta’s climate strike has found followers all over the world. Thousands and thousands of school children, on all continents, have taken part in the Friday strikes or in demonstrations. Greta has given talks at international fora, those can be reached by train.
Her “handicap”, Asperger’s syndrome, comes through to the audience as sincerity and honesty: She tells it as it is, she speaks truth to power.
This book – which will have a follow-up soon – is helpful and instructive reading for families with extraordinary children, and maybe to us who meet them.
We, who are concerned about the future of our world, should listen to Greta, not worry about her situation, her “handicap”, just listen and reflect. What would our world be like if we, like her, dared to speak and act the truth?
Several of Greta Thunberg’s speeches, at the EU, at the Davos meeting or the Stockholm
Here are some quotes:
World Economic Forum Davos, 2019
“Some people, some companies, some decision-makers in particular, have known exactly what priceless values they have been sacrificing to continue making unimaginable amounts of money. And I think many of you here today belong to that group of people.” “I think it’s very insane and weird that people come here in private jets to discuss climate change.”
“It is black or white. There are no grey areas when incomes to survival.
I do not want your hope. I do not want to be hopeful; I want you to panic”
Climate meeting Krakow, Poland, 2018
My message is that if we do not care about the climate crisis and if we do not act now, then almost no other question is going to matter in the future,” “Why should I be studying for a future that soon may not exist?”
European Union, March 2019
“I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. And act as if your house is on fire. Because it is.”
TEDx lecture Stockholm, 2019
“They say I should be in school and study to be a climate