Greta Thunberg, the Swedish climate activist behind the mid-March student walk-out across 112 countries that demanded government action for climate change, has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Thunberg gained attention in August 2018 when she protested for three weeks outside of Sweden’s parliament following its recommendation to phase out coal by 2038. According to Thunberg, the change could be made much sooner.
“Greta Thunberg has launched a mass movement which I see as a major contribution to peace,” MP Freddy André Øvstegård, a member of Norway’s parliament and one of the people who nominated Thunberg, said.
Like many people on the autism spectrum, Thunberg has special interests — namely, climate change. The 16-year-old first heard about climate change when she was 9 years old and has been researching it ever since. In an interview with the New Yorker, Thunberg credited autism for her ability to concentrate on one topic. “I can do the same thing for hours,” she said.
Thunberg has made drastic changes in her way of life, leading her family to adopt an environmentally friendly way of living. The family’s home is powered by solar batteries, they grow their own food and use an electric car when bike riding is not feasible.
Thunberg’s efforts serve as an example of how neurodiverse individuals can make an impact due to the different way they see the world.
“Without my diagnosis, I would never have started school striking. Because then I would have been like everyone else. Our societies need to change, and we need people who think outside the box and we need to start taking care of each other. And embrace our differences,” she wrote in a Facebook post on Autism Awareness Day.
Thunberg was recently featured in TIME magazine as one of the 100 most influential people of 2019. She’s also been nominated for France’s Prix Liberte (Freedom Prize) and has received Germany’s Golden Camera award for her relentless work pushing for climate action.
Check out the stories below to learn more about those in the autism community who are making change: