[Summary] The Truth About Greta Thunberg: A Story of Passion and Anxiety: “I Am Greta” (Nathan Grossman)

I wrote this article in Japanese and translated it into English using ChatGPT. I also used ChatGPT to create the English article title. I did my best to correct any translation mistakes, but please let me know if you find any errors. By the way, I did not use ChatGPT when writing the Japanese article. The entire article was written from scratch by me, Saikawa Goto.



Movies and books covered in this article

I will write an article about this movie/book

Three takeaways from this article

  1. Due to her “anxiety and fear” about climate change, Greta had no choice but to take action.
  2. She has a straight stance of “I don’t care about myself as long as you listen to my argument.”
  3. She also confesses to feeling the desire to escape from the heavy responsibility.”

Greta’s “real image” that they have been following since she was striking alone in front of the Swedish Parliament.

Self-introduction article

Please refer to the self-introduction article above to learn about the person writing this article. Be sure to check out the Kindle book linked below as well.

Published Kindle books(Free on Kindle Unlimited)

“The genius Einstein: An easy-to-understand book about interesting science advances that is not too simple based on his life and discoveries: Theory of Relativity, Cosmology and Quantum Theory”

“Why is “lack of imagination” called “communication skills”?: Japanese-specific”negative” communication”

The quotes used in this article are based on notes taken at the movie theater from movies in Japanese and are not direct quotes from the foreign language original movies, even if they exist.

My Impression of Environmental Activist Greta Thunberg Changed Significantly after Watching the Movie “I Am Greta”

I Always Thought of Greta as an “Angry Person”

Since learning about her, I’ve always thought that Greta Thunberg is an amazing person. However, at the same time, I felt a little scared. The reason for this is that I saw her as an “angry person.”

When I think of environmental activist Greta, the first image that comes to mind is of her saying “How dare you” with a stern expression. Because of this strong impression, I had thought of Greta as a person who “became ‘angry’ and stood up against society and governments that were not taking any action against climate change”. This was at the center of the “angry person” image I had.

However, I realized that this was wrong after watching this movie. Greta was actually “anxious person”, and that made me feel a little relieved.

The reason why I had the impression that Greta was “a little scary” was because I thought she was “angry due to her sense of justice.” In other words, the “angry person” image I had of Greta was equivalent to a “righteous person.”

And I often feel scared of “righteous people.”

I want you to understand that I feel pure admiration for those who fight for “justice,” and I also respect Greta as an amazing person. However, at the same time, I can’t help but feel, “Why would someone sacrifice themselves so much for ‘justice’?” when it comes to a “righteous person.” This is my personal interpretation, and the person who is fighting may not even be aware that they are “sacrificing something.” However, I just can’t help but feel that they are “pushing themselves too hard for ‘justice,'” which makes me feel both admiration and fear. The expression “awe” is the closest to what I feel.

Of course, regardless of the reason, the act of fighting for “justice” is wonderful, and I hope they continue to do their best. I have no intention of denying or disparaging a “righteous person.” I just personally feel that it is easier to understand the “reasons for fighting for ‘justice'” if there is some background. Examples such as “victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake engaging in anti-nuclear power movement” are clear. However, I want to emphasize that I am not arguing that “you should not participate in anti-nuclear power movement if you are not a victim of the Great East Japan Earthquake.” It’s just that I personally find it easier to understand if there is a clear reason for fighting for “justice.”

At first, I had the impression that Greta was someone who unconditionally fought for “justice,” which led to my “slightly scary” impression of her.

I watched a movie and realized that things were not like that. She had a pressing reason for it.

I watched a movie at school that dealt with problems such as polar bears suffering from hunger, floods, droughts, and hurricanes. Scientists said we should change our actions immediately. Because of that, I became depressed and overwhelmed with anxiety. I stopped eating and almost starved to death. This went on for years.

For her, “global climate change” was a pressing issue that oppressed her spirit.

Here’s one way to imagine it: imagine there’s a building next to your home that looks like it could collapse any minute. Even a slight gust of wind makes the entire building shake, and rubble falls from it on a daily basis. Even building experts are sounding the alarm, saying, “If we don’t demolish it as soon as possible, we don’t know what might happen.” If you can imagine that kind of situation, it might be easier to understand Greta’s anxiety.

If you were living next to a building like that, it would be natural to feel “depressed, overwhelmed with anxiety, and stop eating, almost starved to death.” That’s what “climate change in the world” was to her. And it was from that “anxiety” that she made the decision to raise her voice.

From an early age, Greta said, she turned off all the lights in her house and unplugged them. She told her parents that she did this to conserve energy. Her parents explained to her that there was no problem even if she did not do such a thing, and that she did not need to worry because proper measures had been taken.

However, this actually ended up increasing her “anxiety”.

And I was horrified by such words. They are under the impression that things are improving.

To Greta, it probably looked like her parents were living without any worries right next to a building that could collapse at any moment. I think this itself made her feel “fear.”

Such “anxiety” and “fear” have been swirling around inside her since childhood. This is the “core” of her principle of action.

Up until now, I didn’t understand what was the “core” of her guiding principles, but when Greta’s “anxiety” was revealed at the beginning of the movie, my impression changed immediately. Thanks to that change, I was able to understand Greta’s words and actions smoothly and without hesitation from then on.

Even after it Started to Attract Attention, “the Claim that Greta Wants to Reach” has Not Wavered

Although I feel that I shouldn’t say such things, it is difficult to completely dismiss the idea that a “righteous person” may be intoxicated with “upholding justice”. In other words, it is a malicious speculation that “being praised in some way” may have become the “goal of justice”. Sometimes I feel disgusted with myself for thinking that way, but that feeling never completely goes away. Even if that is the motivation, I believe that there is no problem as long as “justice” is ultimately realized. However, the fact remains that I still have a vague sense of discomfort.

However, by understanding that Greta is an “anxious person,” I was able to completely abandon the feeling mentioned above. Greta’s words and actions also reinforce that view.

My activities are not for taking selfies with you or for the sake of praise.

She clearly asserts this. Greta, who has become known all over the world, has more opportunities to be asked to take photos together or to be openly praised when she appears in public. But such things don’t matter to her. From Greta’s perspective, she just wants people to listen to her plea of “please do something about this crumbling building!” However, adults take selfies and say meaningless words of praise while the building is shaking and about to collapse. It’s no wonder Greta is disappointed.

Her assertion is truly simple and consistent.

The number of participants in the demonstration is not important. What is important is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Greta’s actions, which started with just one person, have led to climate change demonstrations involving tens of thousands of people around the world. In the sense of influence brought about by the “a single, existence that should be called a ‘girl'”, I think it is unparalleled in the past. However, Greta is not interested in “how many people participated in the demonstration” or anything like that. That’s because it’s not the purpose, but only a means. The purpose is to “reduce greenhouse gas emissions”. And if that cannot be achieved, she feels that it is meaningless.

She expresses her frustration with “adults’ lack of understanding” in various situations.

I don’t understand why I was invited (to the international conference on the environment).

Isn’t it the case that the VIPs just want to pretend they care by attracting attention?

Many people say “Your work is great” and “I should follow your example.” But they do nothing themselves.

When invited to magnificent palaces and castles, I feel uncomfortable. It’s like everyone is playing a role-playing game. It’s a false world.

All of her words seem to be dripping with “anger”. When Greta is portrayed in the media, she appears to be an “angry person” because her frustration with “no one really listening to my message” is strongly expressed. She has said,

I feel like my words aren’t getting through,

and at one conference she even sarcastically asked,

Is the microphone on?

This is an expression of her “anger,” questioning whether her message is not being heard because the microphone is not turned on.

When you watch this movie, you can clearly understand Greta’s “core” principle of action. She insists on changing the current recognition and taking measures. Her thorough stance is admirable.

Great Intelligence Seeping out

It seems that Greta has Asperger’s Syndrome. So she can concentrate on one thing without getting bored, and she can accurately remember things that interest her. Her father said,

My daughter understands climate issues more accurately than 97% of the world’s politicians.

Greta also calls herself a “study geek.” She was recognized for graduating at the top of her class in middle school and when she started her strike alone, she handed out a “fact sheet” that she created herself. When his daughter started the strike, her father initially declared that he would not help. Greta gathered information on her own, without the help of adults, and understood the current situation of the planet.

At a certain meeting, she said,

You can ignore my speech because I’m just a 15-year-old student. However, you cannot ignore science.

This scene shows that she understands how she is perceived as “Greta Thunberg” and is thinking about how to get her “message” heard. It demonstrates her intelligence, not only in terms of academics but also in other ways.

Even during her journey on a yacht from the UK to attend the climate summit in the US, Greta felt the same way. She had already declared that she would not use airplanes because they emit a large amount of carbon dioxide. However, traveling by yacht would be an extremely challenging journey that could last for weeks. As someone with Asperger’s syndrome, she dislikes deviating from her daily habits, so in that sense, this voyage is quite difficult for her. Despite knowing this, Greta decided to choose traveling by yacht.

In the movie, there was a criticism from the media that “Greta’s actions are just a performance”. It’s not unreasonable to see it that way. Perhaps with such opinions in mind, the film shows a scene in which Greta is asked why she travels by yacht, and I was impressed by her answer as follows.

To show that we are far from a sustainable society.

From this response, you can feel her intelligence. Greta must have understood that her action of traveling by yacht could be seen as a “performance”. The already difficult journey is even more difficult for her as she has Asperger’s Syndrome. Despite fully understanding these things, she has made this difficult decision in order to somehow deliver the message she feels she needs to convey. I think that’s cool.

She expressed her determination that,

I will do whatever I can so that I can think in the future that I have done everything I can.

It’s incredible.

She Also Revealed Her Desire to “Want to Escape”

She talks about her claims every chance she gets. In a sense, it also felt like a reflection of her feeling that she didn’t want attention on herself.

I bear too much responsibility. I don’t want this. The burden is too heavy. I can’t relax. I understand the importance and what needs to be protected. But the responsibility is too heavy.

Everyone, including me, easily says “Greta is amazing” and treats her like a “savior.” However, Greta herself does not want that. She just wants to address “global climate change.”

However, she understands that using the “Greta Thunberg” image is also an effective means to achieve her goals. It is a judgment based on her high intelligence, but at the same time, it also leads to choking herself.

I don’t like talking or socializing. Sometimes I become silent because I simply can’t speak. I like repeating daily routines.

As a person with Asperger’s Syndrome, she is not the type of person who naturally wants to stand in the spotlight. However, she was forced to do so and as a result, she was able to overcome “Selective Mutism” and learn to “eat with others.” So, not all changes are bad. But even so, I felt that it would be too tough for her to bear the “false image” of “Greta Thunberg” on my back.

She feels as follow towards many people who do not understand the current situation.

I wish everyone had Asperger’s when it comes to climate change.

And she believes that she has no choice but to keep moving to change such a world.

I don’t mind being told not to go out. Because I’m scared of the results that come from stopping activities.

In the movie, there is a scene where her father takes an “emergency first aid training” because Greta started receiving threatening letters. He is preparing for the worst, as anything could happen. “It’s better not to go outside” refers to that situation, but Greta still keeps moving because she feels more anxious when she is still. She is still an “anxious person.”

The Flow from When Greta Started a Strike Alone until the World Moved in Support of Her

What surprised me when watching the movie is that the camera was already rolling even before Greta was anyone or a known figure in the world. In August 2018, she started a “one-person strike” in front of the Swedish Parliament. The scene at that time is recorded on film. The details are unknown. It might have been recorded by her father or maybe her mother’s or grandfather’s fame as a famous actor or singer had something to do with it being recorded. Nevertheless, her activities were being recorded before she became a “world-famous environmental activist Greta.”

For three weeks leading up to the election, Greta continued her strike in front of the parliament every day. There were also young people who joined her in sitting in, but unfortunately, “climate change” did not become an issue in the election, and the “Green Party,” which had proposed measures against climate change, suffered a crushing defeat.

After that, Greta started a weekly Friday strike called “Fridays For Future (FFF)”. Through this FFF, her movement for climate change strikes gradually gained supporters, and it developed into a global demonstration. In September 2019, 7 million people around the world participated in the demonstrations, making it the largest climate strike in history.

In this way, Greta became an environmental activist who moved the world by taking action alone.

When she is covered by the media, she is often portrayed with some kind of conflict structure. I have seen reports saying “she exchanged tweets with former President Trump” several times. However, Greta herself clearly stated that she “doesn’t want to divide the world.”

I don’t want to divide the world into black and white. I just want to clarify the issue of climate change.

However, cunning adults skillfully use the existence of “Greta Thunberg” to stir up a certain kind of “division”. As a result, Greta, who is at the center, is perceived as the “source of division”.

As I’ve been repeating so far, Greta’s argument is very simple.

Future generations cannot intervene in the status quo.

The idea is that if we don’t act now, it will be too late. Adults tend to procrastinate and the price will be paid by Greta’s generation, the “future generations”. Once it’s too late, there will be nothing left to do.

I think young people understand Greta’s desperation. However, climate change will not wait until they become the center of politics. I am also of the age that is being told by Greta to “do something about it.” That’s why I think I’ll at least keep the awareness of “staying interested.”

The world should respond correctly to Greta’s sincere plea.


I watched this movie on the day after it was released, but the theater was empty.

It’s not necessarily the case that whether or not you watch this movie and whether or not you are interested in climate change are correlated. That’s obvious. However, still, an empty theater felt like it showed a lack of interest in climate change.

We must take Greta’s desperate plea as our own. Right next to us, a building that seems to be on the verge of collapse is swaying back and forth. I felt that everyone must share such a sense of crisis.

Published Kindle books(Free on Kindle Unlimited)

“The genius Einstein: An easy-to-understand book about interesting science advances that is not too simple based on his life and discoveries: Theory of Relativity, Cosmology and Quantum Theory”

“Why is “lack of imagination” called “communication skills”?: Japanese-specific”negative” communication”

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