Stolen Childhood

The case of Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg

By Dave Skinner

The United Nations held a Youth Climate Summit in New York City last week. To draw attention to the summit, the preceding Friday featured a global “student climate strike” with roughly 1 million participants worldwide, covered broadly and positively. NBC News devoted a full week of special evening segments, not on “global warming,” nor mere “climate change,” but on a full-scream “climate crisis.”

Then on Monday the 22nd, climate protestors gridlocked Washington, D.C.’s morning commute, with the usual chants and dumpster fires in “support” of the summit in New York.

The “inspiration” and “star” for all this is Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg. At the start of the 2018 school year, her ninth grade, she decided to skip school until the Swedish parliamentary elections, staking out the Swedish Parliament building with a placard declaring she was on a “skolstejk for climatet” (school strike for climate) “because you adults are [fertilizing] on my future.”

Her rather-blunt protest went viral.

Since then, Thunberg, who has Aspergers’ syndrome (on the autism spectrum) has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. Greta also got to meet Pope Francis, who allowed himself to be photographed with a placard reading “Join the Climate Strike.” She even got to cross the Baltic to Katowice, Poland, where she chastised dignitaries from 200 countries at the United Nations COP24 climate summit for adults. Her talk there went so well, she was invited to New York to speak before the United Nations Youth Climate Summit. Getting there, toting along her original “skolstejk” placard, took Greta and her dad Svante Thunberg two weeks sailing on a “carbon neutral” racing yacht.

Greta did what she came to do, roasting the grownups. After New York, Greta is supposed to visit Chile for the COP25 climate change conference in early December.

Pretty awesome, right? So forgive me when I repeat something from her Monday speech, her assertion to the adult world that “You have stolen my dreams and my childhood.”

Does that seem overly scripted? Well, yes, it is – from day one, it seems.

See, Thunberg’s parents are media-savvy Swedish celebrities. Greta’s dad is an actor and producer, son of another noted Swedish actor/producer, and married to Greta’s mom, opera singer Malena Ernman, a star in her own right. Ms. Ernman has been honored as a Swedish royal “court singer,” a finalist in a 2009 continent-wide Eurovision pop-singing competition (on YouTube) for which she wore a 37,000-Euro dress and got 21st place.

Fast forward to June of 2017, well prior to Greta’s first “climatetstejk,” when Mom announced to the world (or at least Sweden) she would cease jet-setting in favor of the climate. That October, Mom just happened to win World Wildlife Fund-Sweden’s “Environmental Hero of the Year” award “för hennes engagemang i klimatfrågan” (for her engagement in the climate debate).

Then, in May of 2018, Greta herself won Dagbladet’s “climate change” youth-essay contest, which in turn, according to the Irish Examiner, “formed the genesis of her activism.”

When a climate change group dragged a freelance photographer down to Parliament to take pictures of Greta and “three friends” protesting, then post images to Facebook and Instagram, things took off for the young lady vegan against the world, right?

Wrong. Concurrent with Greta’s first “strike” in August was Swedish publication of “Scenes from the Heart,” a climate-change tome co-written by none other than Mom and Dad, with Mom’s picture on the cover – introducing an 11-year old girl “fixated on the horrors of the climate crisis.” Yep – and I don’t suppose you’ll be a bit surprised to learn there have been subsequent editions and foreign translations, all titled “Our House Is On Fire,” with now-more-famous Greta as winsome cover girl, with lead-author credit in most versions.

Go ahead, let your inner cynic breathe. Yes, fronting kids is a tawdry political standard, but this is special. Two emotionally intelligent celebrities are not just supporting, but orchestrating the exploitation of their “fixated,” emotionally challenged daughter in the global political arena. One can only contemplate Greta’s misery once she grows up and figures out who really stole her dreams and childhood – her parents.

Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup.

Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox.