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Why Greta Thunberg is more popular in Switzerland than in Sweden

Skeptical: Greta Thunberg didn’t just make friends in her home country. Image: AP

Why Greta Thunberg is less enthusiastic in Sweden than in Switzerland

17-year-old Greta Thunberg will be performing at the WEF on Tuesday. Is it as provocative as when you last visited 2019?

Simone Hinnen, Stockholm / ch media

Tomorrow Tuesday, Greta Thunberg will visit the World Economic Forum in Davos again – and the media hype in the country is high.

The situation is completely different in Stockholm, the hometown of the 17-year-old climate icon. If you walk through the streets of the Swedish capital, you will not find any Greta Thunberg posters. And it’s more of a coincidence when you come across young people at a corner who demonstrate for better climate protection. Wherever people in Stockholm are addressed to Greta Thunberg, an embarrassed throat usually follows. And then, if you’re lucky, a cautious answer.

Greta Thunberg doesn’t have as many fervent followers in her home country as one might think. Even if the “person of the year” for whom the American “Time Magazine” Greta Thunberg recently chose has the popularity of a pop star or a top politician around the world: Little is noticed in Stockholm.

The Swedes’ conspicuous stubbornness with regard to “their” Greta has a simple reason: Swedes are reluctant to publicly talk about others – and certainly not about politics.

Flygskam has many advocates in Scandinavia

But even if Greta does not play a major role in the Swedish public: the young woman has already initiated some changes in the country’s educational institutions.

Environmental issues have become increasingly important in Sweden’s schools in the recent past. School classes and small groups start environmental campaigns in many places, the Flugscham movement (in Swedish “Flygskam”) has numerous supporters in the Scandinavian country, and teachers often accompany their students to climate demonstrations.

High school student Saga, who visits the International School of the Stockholm Region, says: “I see an extreme change in how we young people deal with climate issues. I remember the first Friday-for-Future protests when our school was de facto without students. ”That alone shows how Greta Thunberg has had an impact on the young generation in Sweden.

Sweden was environmentally friendly even before Greta

Hampus Svenblad, innovation manager from Stockholm, differentiates: Greta is also a role model for him when it comes to climate policy. And he pays her respect. At the same time, however, he points out that Swedes had already taken care of the environment before Greta Thunberg – for example when dealing with waste or with the purchase of energy-friendly cars.

Hampus Svenblad knows of critical voices towards Greta. However, their criticism is less about the 17-year-old personally and more about her surroundings. So one is probably not wrong to ask what will happen to the young woman if she has to go back to normal school life. After all, she didn’t go through an easy school time. “As long as their interests are adequately represented, everything is fine,” he says.

But one should not forget that Greta Thunberg’s speeches and appearances are co-written and shaped by others. “Once Greta is just a means to other people’s ends, it becomes difficult.”

Stricter absence rules due to Greta

Criticism of the protest movement that Greta started with its Friday school strikes for the climate is also slowly coming from the surroundings of Swedish schools. While many schoolchildren actually took part in climate demonstrations last year, there are always free-riders who stay away from class on Fridays and give Fridays for Future as a reason. And probably not so much because they actually go to the demonstration every week, but because they have got used to school-free Fridays.

Sweden’s schools have long turned a blind eye to the “striking” pupils. But now the increasing absences are increasingly leading to discussions. It is therefore quite possible that Greta Thunberg could also have an indirect influence on the general conditions in the Swedish school system and her engagement could lead to a stricter absence regime. (Aargauerzeitung.ch)

Greta Thunberg: The fearless girl from Davos

Climate activist Greta Thunberg hands out

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