Ms Thunberg completed a 14-day trans-Atlantic trip to attend the UN’s climate summit. (AP: Mary Altaffer)
Teen climate activist takes 14-day trans-Atlantic boat trip to UN summit to ‘make a stand’
Swedish climate change activist Greta Thunberg has hit out at critics in an online post, describing her Asperger’s diagnosis as a “superpower” that she has never tried to “hide behind”.
- Greta Thunberg drew criticism after refusing to fly to the UN’s climate summit because of the carbon cost of plane travel
- The teen climate activist said she was public about her Asperger’s diagnosis to change people’s preconceptions
- She has previously hit back at Australian columnist Andrew Bolt for labelling her the “deeply disturbed messiah” of the global warming movement
Ms Thunberg last month completed a 14-day trans-Atlantic trip on a zero-carbon-emissions sailboat to attend the UN’s climate summit in New York, after refusing to fly because of the carbon cost of plane travel.
The decision drew criticism from commentators who questioned whether Ms Thunberg was being taken advantage of by the “green cult”, while Australian newspaper columnist Andrew Bolt labelled her the “deeply disturbed messiah of the global warming movement”.
Taking to Instagram to address criticisms of her “looks and differences”, Ms Thunberg, who describes herself online as a climate activist with Asperger’s, said she was “a bit different from the norm”.
“When haters go after your looks and differences, it means they have nowhere left to go. And then you know you’re winning!” she wrote.
“I have Asperger’s syndrome and that means I’m sometimes a bit different from the norm.
“And — given the right circumstances — being different is a superpower.”
Ms Thunberg went on to write that while her diagnosis had “limited” her in the past, her climate activism had helped her find “meaning in a world that sometimes seems meaningless”.
“I’m not public about my diagnosis to ‘hide’ behind it, but because I know many ignorant people still see it as an ‘illness’, or something negative,” she said.
“And believe me, my diagnosis has limited me before. Before I started school striking I had no energy, no friends and I didn’t speak to anyone. I just sat alone at home, with an eating disorder.
“All of that is gone now, since I have found a meaning, in a world that sometimes seems meaningless to so many people.”
Ms Thunberg has become a symbol of a growing movement of young climate activists, leading weekly protests in Sweden that inspired similar events in about 100 cities worldwide.
Last month, she hit back at Andrew Bolt after he wrote that he had “never seen a girl so young and with so many mental disorders treated by so many adults as a guru”.
“I am indeed ‘deeply disturbed’ about the fact that these hate and conspiracy campaigns are allowed to go on and on and on just because we children communicate and act on the science,” she responded on Twitter.