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Greta Thunberg returns to school after political gap year

Credit: Lëa-Kim Châteauneuf

Greta Thunberg has completed her political gap year and returned to high school in Sweden, one week after meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin.

For most Swedish students, the school year started on 19 August. Thunberg (17) missed her first official days, however, to meet with Merkel and Belgians Anuna De Wever and Adélaïde Charlier, who led the Belgian school strikes for the climate.

It is not clear which high school the young climate activist will be attending.

Thunberg first picked up a picket sign in 2018 at age 15, when she skipped school to protest climate change right outside the Swedish Parliament. The meeting with Merkel took place exactly two years later.

During the meeting, Thunberg, De Wever, Charlier and German student Luisa Neubauer presented Merkel with a joint letter that urged governments around the world to limit the use of fossil fuels. The letter has been signed more than 120,000 times globally since July.

Since she started protesting, Thunberg has attracted international attention and inspired many students around the world to organise climate protests and school strikes of their own.

She has been both berated and praised for her direct speeches aimed at the world’s leaders, wishing for them to make a change. American President Donald Trump ridiculed her by saying she had “anger management issues” and needed to “chill”. Merkel, on the other hand, has continuously praised Thunberg for motivating political change.

At the end of 2019, Time Magazine crowned Thunberg as Person of the Year. In 2019, Sweden announced her to be the Swedish Woman of the Year. She was also nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2019 and in 2020.

Amée Zoutberg
The Brussels Times